What do we know about Marriage & Civil Partnership and Equality?

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[1].

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.

Interesting #Equalityfacts about Marriage & Civil Partnership in Fife

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.

Demography

Population

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.

  16-34 35-64 Over 65 All
Fife 2017
Single, never been married/in civil partnership 78 21 6 33
Married/Civil partnership 21 62 56 49
Divorced/Separated 1 14 12 10
Widowed/Bereaved civil partner 3 27 8
Scotland 2017
Single, never been married/in civil partnership 79 23 7 36
Married/Civil partnership 20 60 57 47
Divorced/Separated 2 14 10 10
Widowed/Bereaved civil partner 2 26 7

Table 144 Current marital status, Fife and Scotland 2016

Source: Scottish Household Survey 2017 – LA Tables 2.4 (12 December 2018)

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:

Area Marriages Civil Partnerships
Total Opposite Sex Same Sex Male Female
SCOTLAND 28,440 27,458 982 41 29
Fife  1,568 1,521 47 1 1

Table 145 Marriages and Civil Partnerships Scotland and Fife, 2017

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.

Figure 54 Civil Partnerships over time, Scotland

Source: NRS: Infographics (2016)

Living Standards

Housing

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:

  Fife
Total number of households
(with residents)
160952
% One person household – Aged 65 or over 13.2
% One person household – Aged under 65 18.7
One-person (combined) 31.9
% One family only: Lone parent: With dependent children 7.3
% One family only: Lone parent: All children non-dependent 3.6
Lone parent (Combined) 10.9
% 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
Married (Combined) 34.2
% 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

Table 146 Type of households in Fife – Married and Civil Partnership couples

Source: Scotland’s Census 2011

Health

Key points

Married people generally live longer and have better health than unmarried people[2] 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[3].

Justice and Personal Security

Forced Marriages

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[4], 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.

2011 2012 2013 2014 Total*
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%)

Table 147 Cases of forced marriage reported by study year and area

Source: Scottish Government (2017) Understanding forced marriage in Scotland 2

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 Bangladeshi Indian Other Asian Mixed race Other
Count /

(%)

4 (3%) 11 (8%) 0

(0%)

0 (0%) 79 (

55%)

7

(5%)

13 (9%) 8 (6%) 1 (1%) 20 (14%)

 


Age group
Under 16 16-17 years 18-21 years 22-25 years 26-30 years 31+ years
(%) 14

(11%)

18

(14%)

36

(27%)

38

(29%)

19

(14%)

8

(6%)

Table 148 Victim demographics of forced marriage

Source: Scottish Government (2017) Understanding forced marriage in Scotland 3

[1] EHRC (March 2017) Equality Act 2010 – Handbook for Advisors [Scotland] p8

[2] 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

[3] 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

[4] Scottish Government (2017) Understanding forced marriage in Scotland