Study: Lesbians more likely to marry than gay men

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Lesbian women in Sweden are more likely to enter a same-sex marriage or civil partnership than gay men are, according to data released by the country’s statistics agency on Friday.

At the end of last year, 4,521 Swedish women were registered as having a spouse of the same gender, which was 24 percent more than the number of men who did.

Foreign partners were not included in the data, compiled by Statistics Sweden, explaining why the total figure was an odd number.

Lesbians were more likely to tie the knot because it is easier for them to have children than it is for gay men, whose options are limited to adopting or finding a surrogate mother, said Ulrika Westerlund, the head of Sweden’s Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL).

“As is the case with everyone else, legal protection for a family is stronger if the parents are married, than if they are only cohabiting,” she said.

Although artificial insemination is legal for lesbian parents in Sweden, many of them travel to neighbouring Denmark to conceive their child using an anonymous sperm donor, she added.

For those couples, marrying was often necessary to ensure the other partner could become the child’s legal parent.

Sweden lifted its adoption ban for same-sex couples in 2003, but assisted insemination is only provided if the child’s biological father is known.

Gays and lesbians have been allowed to wed in religious or civil ceremonies in the Scandinavian country since 2009. Civil unions were legalised in 1995.

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