DOZENS of people in Gwynedd and Anglesey have formed mixed-sex civil partnerships since they first became eligible to do so, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have shown.
A recent law has enabled eligible opposite-sex couples to form a civil partnership since December 2019, and the first of these in England and Wales took place on December 31 that year.
ONS figures showed that 27 and 14 opposite-sex couples in Gwynedd and Anglesey respectively formed civil partnerships in 2020.
They were among more than 7,700 couples to have done so by the end of 2020.
Previously, only same-sex couples could enter into civil partnerships, but in June 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that this was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court allowed heterosexual couple Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage, after they argued that the law was discriminatory.
There were two same-sex civil partnerships in Gwynedd in 2020 – both between men.
The total number was up from one in 2019 – and the lowest since comparable records began in 2008.
Civil partnerships for gay couples in the area peaked in 2008, when there were 17.
In Anglesey, there were four same-sex civil partnerships in 2020 – three between female couples, and one between males.
That was up from none in 2019 – also the lowest since comparable records began.
Civil partnerships for gay couples in Anglesey peaked in 2013, when there were six.
There were 671 same-sex civil partnership dissolutions granted in England and Wales in 2020, with 54 per cent of these to female couples.
A spokeswoman from the Equal Civil Partnerships campaign group said the coronavirus pandemic meant 2020 was not the ideal first year for mixed-sex civil partnerships that was hoped for.
She added: “We are encouraged that over 15,000 people in England and Wales were able to form the legal and life relationship of their choice, ensuring security for themselves during a health crisis.
“Given the problems facing couples in 2020 when civil partnerships were not allowed to go ahead at all – or with so many restrictions that many couples decided to wait – we don’t know how many more civil partnerships might otherwise have been formed.”
The popularity of same-sex civil partnerships across England and Wales has plummeted since the first legalised gay marriages took place in 2014.
In 2020, just 785 took place – the lowest figure since they were introduced in 2005.
An ONS spokesman said: “There were almost ten times as many partnerships between opposite-sex couples than same-sex couples in 2020.
“Same-sex civil partnerships in England reached a record low in 2020 and may have been driven by the pandemic restrictions, where registrations services were temporarily suspended.”