The legalisation of same-sex couples in Europe

Patrick Festy, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Marie Digoix, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

Since 1989, eleven European countries have opened to same-sex couples the possibility to register their unions. We measure how frequently same-sex couples have done it. It implies an adaptation of the tools which measured nuptiality up to now, as if everybody was heterosexual. Registration of same-sex couples is less frequent than marriage of different-sex couples, even if the latter has much lost in popularity. The status offered to homosexuals may be seen at the same time as too inferior to that of married heterosexuals and as unfitted to the specificity of same-sex couples. Moreover, the cross-national diversity of registration is much wider than that of traditional nuptiality and counter-intuitive: countries which have given the most numerous rights to same-sex couples are not the ones where these register most. More specific keys must be looked for or more contextual explanations.

Presented in Session 37: Partnerships