The Australian Bureau of Statistics have recently reported data relating to same-sex marriages occurring in 2018. These statistics reflect amendments to the Marriage Act 1961 which came into effect on 9 December 2017 and allowed same-sex couples to marry.
In 2018, same-sex marriages represented 5.5% of total marriages. The highest proportion of same-sex marriages occurred in the Australian Capital Territory, representing 8.3% of all marriages.
There have been 6,538 same-sex marriages in Australia in total.
Same-sex marriages by gender
- Of all same-sex marriages in Australia, 57.8% were of female couples and 42.2% were of male couples.
- Female same-sex couples were not only the majority nationally, but in each state and territory as well.
Same-sex marriages and religion
- Although 79.7% of total marriages were performed by a civil celebrant, this rose to 98.9% for same-sex couples.
- Of the 79 same-sex couples married by a minister of religion, the most common was of the Uniting Church.
Same-sex marriage as a first marriage
- 89.6% of males and 80.7% of females entering a same-sex marriage were married for the first time.
- 10.1% of males and 18.9% of females were previously divorced.
- The remainder were widowed.
Age at marriage
- The median age at the time of marriage is the highest it has been in over 10 years due to the introduction of same-sex couples in the data.
- The median age at marriage was 32.4 years for males and 30.5 years for females.
- Whilst the median age at marriage was 32.1 years for a male in an opposite-sex marriage, it was 44.9 years for males in same-sex marriages.
- Whilst the median age at marriage was 30.2 years for a female in an opposite-sex marriage, it was 39.3 years for females in a same-sex marriage.
It is likely that the 2018 statistics reflect a higher number of marriages than future statistics will show, due to the number of same-sex couples marrying soon after the legislative changes.
The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in most states and territories includes a Relationships Register. Previously, this was the only way same-sex couples could obtain the rights that come with a legally recognised relationship, such as providing next-of-kin status, superannuation and government payments and assisting for tax purposes or medical emergencies.
Currently Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory are the only jurisdictions without a register.