The Australian Bureau of Statistics has published the first data on same-sex divorces, five years after the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
There were 473 same-sex divorces in Australia in 2021, 306 female couples and 167 male couples.
In 2021, there were 2,842 same-sex marriages registered. There were more female same-sex couples married (1,771) than male same-sex couples (1,072). This was the case across every state and territory.
This means that according to the ABS data, the male and female same-sex marriages broke down at roughly the same rates.
But we can’t determine the same-sex divorce rate just yet, because it’s only been five years since the marriages began in Australia.
Same-sex couples have only been able to legally tie the knot here since early 2018.
Currently, the median duration of a marriage in Australia is 8.4 years to separation and just over 12 years to divorce.
ABS data shows 56,244 divorces in 2021
In Australia in 2021, there were 89,164 marriages and 56,244 divorces registered in total.
The ABS said this was well below pre-pandemic numbers, but more than the historic low (78,989) recorded in 2020.
“Marriage numbers in Victoria and New South Wales were particularly affected from June and July 2021 onwards as public health restrictions were stepped up,” James Eynstone-Hinkins from the ABS said.
“Marriages in other states and territories were less impacted, with numbers in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory almost returning to pre-pandemic levels.”
In 2019, 5,507 Australian same-sex couples married. But that number plunged to only 2,902 get married in 2020 and 2,842 in 2021.
In 2021, same-sex marriages accounted for 3.2 per cent of all marriages. This is down from 5.5 per cent in 2018, the first full year of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
Last year, the first Census since same-sex marriage was passed counted 23,914 same-sex marriages in Australia.
Less weddings than ever performed by religious ministers
The proportion of all marriages performed by ministers of religion also dropped slightly to a new low of 19.3 per cent.
In 2001, the ministers of religion conducted 46.9 per cent of weddings.
But over the past four years the trend of civil celebrants performing around 80 per cent of marriage ceremonies has stayed steady according to the data.
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