Same-sex marriage and remarriage in Australia, 2018-2020
Background Since same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in December 2017, thousands of same-sex couples have married. Little Australian research to date has examined same-sex marriage trends and how they are similar or different to different-sex marriages.
Aims To describe trends in same-sex marriages and remarriages in Australia for the years 2018–2020, comparing and contrasting with different-sex marriages and remarriages by age and sex.
Data and methods Data come from the Australian Bureau of Statistics publication Marriage and Divorces, Australia. We use available data on different-sex and same-sex marriages and remarriages for age and sex.
Results The proportion of same-sex marriages declined from 5.5% of total marriages to 3.7% between 2018 and 2020. Same-sex marriages tended to be at older ages, but the age gap between same-sex and different-sex marriages for males and females reduced over time. Similar trends were observed for remarriage. For different-sex remarriages, there was a slightly higher proportion of males remarrying than females. In contrast, for same-sex remarriages, the proportion of females remarrying was double that of same-sex males.
Conclusions Early trends suggest same-sex marriages and remarriages occurred at older ages than different-sex. This age gap reduced over time, suggesting that early adopters of same-sex marriage may be a different group. Interestingly, same-sex remarriage was much more common for females. Given that same-sex marriage was not legal in Australia until late 2017, it is likely that many of their first marriages were different-sex. This has received little attention in the research literature to date and requires further investigation.