The number of marriages between 2000 and 2005 was practically unchanged but the number of civil weddings increased, mostly due to weddings between foreigners, figures given in Parliament yesterday show.

Justice and Home Affairs Minister Tonio Borg said there were 2,164 marriages in 2000 and just two less last year. The number of Church weddings dropped from 1,715 in the year 2000 to 1,467 last year while the number of civil marriages was up from 449 to 695 last year.

The number of civil weddings between Maltese couples rose from 65 to 83 during the five year period, but the number of civil weddings between Maltese and foreigners declined from 207 in the year 2000 to 185 last year after peaking at 334 in 2003. The number of civil weddings between foreigners rose from 177 in the year 2000 to 427 last year.

In Gozo, the number of weddings reached 173 in the year 2000 and 158 last year. There were 141 church weddings in 2000 and 115 last year while the number of civil weddings rose from 32 to 43.

Civil weddings between Maltese dropped from eight to six. In contrast to Malta, the number of civil weddings in Gozo between Maltese and foreigners rose, from nine in 2000 to 11 last year while the number of civil weddings between foreigners rose from 15 to 26.

The minister, who was replying to questions by Clyde Puli (PN) said 142 cases for marriage separation were filed last year up to December 13, from 130 in the year 2000. There were 188 new cases in 2002.

The minister said eight separation cases were filed in the Gozo courts last year, from 10 in 2000.

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