There have been over 3,000 same-sex weddings in Australia during the first half of this year.
Statistics show that 3,149 same-sex couples married between 9 December 2017 and 30 June 2018.
The numbers were released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which tracked the number of weddings since amendments to the Marriage Act came into effect at the end of the 2017-18 financial year.
New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, had the highest number, with 34.6% of same-sex weddings taking place there.
This was followed by Victoria, which had 26.2% of the country’s weddings, and Queensland with 18.9%, the Guardian reports.
More than half of the weddings (56.3%) were between women.
‘The most popular time for same-sex couples to get married was March, accounting for 22.7% (714) of marriages over the six-month period,’ said James Eynstone-Hinkins, a representative of the ABS health and vitals statistics section.
Older couples tying the knot
The numbers show a particularly high number of older same-sex couples getting married, particularly among men.
The average age of women entering a same-sex marriage was 39, while for men it was 48.5.
1,057 of people over the age of 60 registered a same-sex marriage, which includes 86 men and 33 women older than 75.
This stands in contrast to heterosexual marriages, where the median age was 30 for women and 32 for men.
‘The relatively high median age of marrying same-sex partners suggests the couples who are marrying have been together a long time and are now finally able to have their love and commitment legally recognized,’ said Rodney Croome, a marriage equality campaigner for Just Equal.
Croome said that the numbers were proof that ‘the marriage equality campaign was right when it said the sky would not fall in’, and should be considered alongside the wider context of LGBTI rights in Australia.
‘As Australia debates transgender equality, discrimination in religious schools and other LGBTI issues, we must keep in mind that those who catastrophized LGBTI equality during the marriage debate were jumping at shadows, and they continue to jump at shadows today,’ Croome added.
Voting for change
12.7 million Australians – around 80% of eligible voters – took part in the Equal Marriage Law Postal Survey last year.
Of this, 61% of people voted in favor of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 38.4% voting against.
The campaigns for marriage equality in Australia were hard-fought.
During the lead-up to the vote, the No campaign warned of the dire consequences if same-sex marriages were legalized, including ads which claimed it would cause boys to begin wearing dresses to school, warned that students would role-play being in same-sex relationships and that radical LGBTI sex and gender education would become mandatory in schools.
A 2016 census found that there were 46,800 same-sex couples living together in Australia.