Last year, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the number of civil partnership ceremonies in the United Kingdom rose from 6,385 in 2010 to 6,795 in 2011, an increase of 6.4%.
However there was a huge variation across the nations that make up the United Kingdom.
- In England the increase was 6.6%.
- In Scotland the increase was much higher at 19.1%.
- Meanwhile in Wales the figure descreased by 6%.
- In Northern Ireland there was also a decrease but it was much greater at 23.3%.
In Scotland campaigners for 'gay marriage' highlighted the Scottish figure in support of their case. Meanwhile Scottish newspapers gave extensive coverage to the increase and The Scotsman (1 August) headed its report: 'Same-sex marriage backers hail 20% rise in civil partnerships.'
This raises two questions and having been out of Northern Ireland, on holiday, last week I do not know the answers. What has been the reaction from the 'gay marriage' lobby in Northern Ireland to the 23.3% decrease and what coverage have newspapers given to this substantial decrease?