Official statistics show the number of civil partnerships being formed in the UK continues to fall significantly.
The 7,169 civil partnerships formed in 2008 represent an 18 per cent fall from the 2007 figure of 8,728.
Between 2006 and 2007 the drop had been even greater, down 46 per cent after the initial ‘boom’ of 16,106 registrations after the Civil Partnership Act came into force in December 2005.
The 2008 figure raises the total of UK civil partnerships to 33,956 since the law entered the statute book.
This suggests the Government’s original prediction of 62,000 civil partnerships being formed in the first five years was wildly exaggerated.
That target was based on the assumption that five per cent of the UK population is homosexual. An official Government survey published in 2008 found that homosexuals comprised just one per cent of the population.
In 2008 less than one person (0.6) per 1000 unmarried adults aged 16 and over entered into a civil partnership in England and Wales. In Scotland the figure was 0.5 per 1000.
Almost a quarter of all 2008 civil partnerships took place in London. The regions with the largest figures were the London Borough of Westminster registering 282 partnerships and Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority registering 274.
‘Gay rights’ campaigner Peter Tatchell used the publication of the figures to call for civil partnerships to be replaced by ‘gay marriage’.
He said: “Initially most [homosexuals] were ready to settle for civil partnerships. After years of no legal rights they were desperate to get something.”
“Now the mood is shifting in favour of full legal equality – the right to get married in a register office on the same level as heterosexual couples.”