The Equality Act defines the protected characteristic of Marriage & Civil partnership as applying to people who are legally married or who are in a civil partnership. This does not cover single people, divorcees, fiancés, cohabitees, and so on.
Marriage is legally recognised between partners of different sex (e.g. a man and a woman) or of the same sex. Civil partnership is between partners of the same sex. In Scotland, the Scottish Parliament has legislated to allow same-sex marriages (see Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014).
Marriage and civil partnership discrimination applies to workplace discrimination. If you are treated unfairly outside the workplace because you’re married or in a civil partnership, it is not categorised as unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act.
Marriages have been decreasing in Scotland (almost by a third over the past 40 years). Following the 2014 Marriage and Civil Partnership Act, the uptake of civil partnerships has levelled at around 70 per year in Scotland.
Most people and households in Fife are married / in civil partnerships
The majority of people in Fife are married or in a civil partnership (49%) and married or civil-partnership households make up 34.2% of households in Fife.
Opposite sex and same-sex marriages are increasing, civil partnerships remain low
In 2017, 1,568 opposite sex marriages, 47 same sex marriages and 1 Male Civil Partnership took place in Fife.
In 2017, the majority of people in Fife were married or in a civil partnership (49%), increasing slightly from 45% in the previous year. 1 in 3 are single and have never been married/in a civil partnership; 1 in 10 are divorced/separated.
|Single, never been married/in civil partnership||78||21||6||33|
|Widowed/Bereaved civil partner||–||3||27||8|
|Single, never been married/in civil partnership||79||23||7||36|
|Widowed/Bereaved civil partner||–||2||26||7|
Marriages and Civil Partnerships: 2017
In 2017, 1,568 opposite sex marriages, 47 same sex marriages and 1 Male Civil Partnership took place in Fife:
|Total||Opposite Sex||Same Sex||Male||Female|
This is an increase from 2016, when there were 36 same sex marriages and 1 female Civil Partnership taking place in Fife by October 2016. In 2015, there was 1,671 same-sex marriages in Scotland in 2015, 935 of which were conversions from existing civil partnerships and 736 were marriages.
Just over one in four couples converted Scottish Civil Partnerships to a marriage. Another noticeable trend is that marriages are decreasing in Scotland (almost by a third over the past 40 years) and also that the uptake of civil partnerships has levelled at around 70 per year in Scotland.
Source: NRS: Infographics (2016)
The 2011 census showed that married or civil-partnership households make up 34.2% of households in Fife, ahead of one-person households (31.9%) and lone parent families (10.9%). There is no more detailed data on marital status and household type available at this time:
|Total number of households
|% One person household – Aged 65 or over||13.2|
|% One person household – Aged under 65||18.7|
|% One family only: Lone parent: With dependent children||7.3|
|% One family only: Lone parent: All children non-dependent||3.6|
Lone parent (Combined)
|% One family only: Married or same-sex civil partnership couple: With dependent children||13.7|
|% One family only: Married or same-sex civil partnership couple: No dependent children||20.5|
|% One family only: Cohabiting couple: With dependent children||4.4|
|% One family only: Cohabiting couple: No dependent children||5.5|
|% Other households: All full-time students||0.8|
|% Other households: All aged 65 and over||8.8|
|% Other households: Other||3.5|
Source: Scotland’s Census 2011
Married people generally live longer and have better health than unmarried people and the health of a couple also tend to be affected by positive or negatives experiences of the relationship. Marital cohesion has been linked with outcomes such as better ambulatory blood pressure whereas marital strain has been shown to place women at greater risk of coronary events.
In Scotland, the Forced Marriage etc (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011 came into force on 28 November 2011 and provides civil protection in the form of Forced Marriage Protection Orders (FMPO) for those at risk of forced marriage as well as those already in forced marriages. Breaching a FMPO is a criminal offence in Scotland, under section 122 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and came into force on 30th September 2014.
By January 2017 12 FMPOs have been issued in Scotland, no further breakdown of data at local level was available at this time, however the research carried between 2011 and 2014 based on 191 cases of forced marriage can give an idea of unreported patterns.
Cases in during the research period tended to involve young, female South Asian victims being threatened or coerced into marriage largely by their parents and extended families. The areas survey did not include Fife but incidence locally can be expected to lie be between Edinburgh’s (with the highest proportion of cases at 39%) and Dundee (2%) due to proximity and size of population.
|Aberdeen City||4 (10%)||4 (10%)||4 (8%)||5 (9%)||17 (9%)|
|Dundee||2 (5%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||1 (2%)||3 (2%)|
|East Renfrewshire||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)|
|Edinburgh||16 (38%)||17 (41%)||25 (48%)||17 (4%)||75 (39%)|
|Glasgow City||17 (40%)||20 (49%)||17 (33%)||18 (32%)||72 (38%)|
|Highlands||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)||0 (0%)|
|National sample||3 (7%)||0 (0%)||6 (12%)||15 (27%)||24 (13%)|
|Total*||42 (100%)||41 (100%)||52 (100%)||56 (100%)||191 (100%)|
Of the cases where age was known, the majority of victims were aged 18-25, with under 18s representing around a quarter of cases and under 16s around 1 in 10 of cases. Victims were mainly from Pakistani backgrounds (more than half of cases where ethnicity was known), followed by ‘other ethnicity’, Indian and Black African.
|Ethnicity||White||Black African||Black Carib-bean||Other Black||Pakistani||Bangla– deshi||Indian||Other Asian||Mixed race||Other|
|4 (3%)||11 (8%)||0
|0 (0%)||79 (
|13 (9%)||8 (6%)||1 (1%)||20 (14%)|
|Under 16||16-17 years||18-21 years||22-25 years||26-30 years||31+ years|
 Sally Wyke GraemeFord (1992) Social Science & Medicine Volume 34, Issue 5, March 1992, Pages 523-532. Competing explanations for associations between marital status and health
 Martire, L.M., Schulz, R., Helgeson, V.S. et al. ann. behav. med. (2010) Review and Meta-analysis of Couple-Oriented Interventions for Chronic Illness. 40: 325. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-010-9216-2