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Thousands Have Followed Elton's Lead

Thursday 23 February 2006 @ 18:30 - GMT

Between December 21 and January 31, there have been 3,648 civil partnership ceremonies, according to the Office For National Statistics.

Male couples formed the most unions, with 2,510 ceremonies compared with 1,138 female partnerships.

Same-sex couples have been able to form a civil partnership in England and Wales since December 21 of last year. 

They grant rights in areas such as employment and pensions, but are not officially regarded as marriages.  

Brighton and Hove held 126 ceremonies - the most in the country.

Westminster, which held 121 ceremonies, was the second most popular place for gay marriages, followed by Kensington and Chelsea, where 105 unions took place.

Kent, Richmond, East Sussex, Devon, Islington and West Sussex are among other parts of the country which have hosted high numbers of civil partnerships.

Nearly 700 ceremonies took place on the first day the arrangements came into force.

Of course, Elton and David Furnish, who "wed" at Windsor's Guildhall, Berkshire, have had the highest-profile such partnership to date.