Marriage & Couples Rights

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    Backlash, Consensus, Legitimacy, or Polarization: The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Policy on Mass Attitudes

    By Andrew R. Flores and Scott Barclay
    January 2016

    In the last 10 years, public support for marriage for same-sex couples has increased across the United States. But the most dramatic drop in anti-gay attitudes occurred in states that legalized marriage equality – in fact, 47% of residents who initially were opposed changed their minds. That’s almost double the percentage seen in states where marriage equality was not legal. In those states, 24% of residents who were initially opposed changed their minds. The findings are discussed in a report co-authored by Public Opinion and Policy Analyst Andrew R. Flores and published in Political Research Quarterly.

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    Estimating the Economic Impact of Marriage for Same-sex Couples after Obergefell

    By Christy Mallory
    November 2015

    An estimated 96,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. married in the four months following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision extending marriage to same-sex couples nationwide. Wedding spending by these couples and their out-of-state guests have boosted state and local economies by an estimated $813 million, and have generated an estimated $52 million in state and local sales tax revenue. This spending could support an estimated 9,700 jobs for one full year.

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    Marriage and Same-sex Couples after Obergefell

    By Gary J. Gates and Taylor N.T. Brown
    November 2015

    This research brief analyzes the impact of the US Supreme Court’s decisions in Windsor v. United States (June 2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (June 2015) on marriage by same-sex couples. In 2013, the year that the Windsor ruling was issued, an estimated 230,000 same-sex couples were married, 21% of all same-sex couples. By June 2015, when Obergefell was decided, 390,000 same-sex couples were married, 38% of all same-sex couples. As of October 2015, 486,000 same-sex couples were married, or 45% of all same-sex couples. The legal benefits and obligations of marriage now support these married couples, more than a quarter of whom are raising children, and the visibility of these families will likely continue to accelerate public support for marriage equality in the United States.

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    Williams Institute Scholar Testifies at Constitutional Court of Colombia

    By Nan Hunter
    July 2015

    On July 30, Prof. Nan Hunter, Associate Dean at Georgetown Law and Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, testified at the Constitutional Court in Bogota, Columbia. An expert on matrimonial law, Hunter was invited to testify at a hearing to decide whether to extend equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.

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    Examining Variation in Surveying Attitudes on Same-Sex Marriage: A Meta-Analysis

    By Andrew Flores
    June 2015

    Most recent polls show that a majority of the U.S. supports legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. But some polls still report less than a majority in favor. Our public opinion and policy fellow Andrew Flores explored this variation and found that the difference is in how you frame it. Questions that focused on the issue of “same-sex marriage” garnered less support than questions on the legal recognition of marriages for same-sex couples. Even after accounting for this difference, the change in Americans’ attitudes on same-sex marriage is still large and significant.

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    Lee Badgett speaks to Irish community ahead of referendum

    M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Distinguished Scholar, presented her research about marriage to an Irish audience on March 19, 2015 at a conference in Dublin, Ireland. On May 22, 2015, voters in Ireland will decide whether to approve a referendum amending Ireland’s constitution to permit same-sex marriage. If the measure is passed, Ireland will become the world’s first country to adopt marriage equality by a popular vote.

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    Trends in Public Support for Marriage for Same-sex Couples by State: 2004-2014

    By Andrew R. Flores and Scott Barclay
    April 2015

    This research brief uses data from multiple national surveys and well-established statistical methods to estimate public opinion about marriages for same-sex couples for each state in the United States. Using this technique, we provide updated state level opinion estimates for 2014, highlight how popular opinion varies from state to state, and demonstrate how opinions have changed from 2004 to 2014. We finally turn to projecting statewide support estimates for 2016.

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    Windsor and Perry: Reactions of Siblings in Same-Sex and Heterosexual Couples

    By Esther D. Rothblum
    April 2015

    The U.S. Supreme Court decisions in U.S. v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry created a focal point for public discussion of marriage equality for same-sex couples. This article reports the results of an exploratory study of the reactions of individuals currently or previously in same-sex couple relationships and a heterosexual sibling who is currently or previously married to the Supreme Court decisions.

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    Children and Families Impacted and the Fiscal Implications of Florida HB 7111, “Conscience Protection for Private Child-Placing Agencies”

    Gary Gates, Taylor N.T. Brown
    April 2015

    Agencies could refuse to place a child with a potential parent because of the parent’s sexual orientation or gender identity under proposed bill HB 7111 in Florida. About 2,460 adopted children and 160 foster children are being raised by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals or same-sex couples in Florida. If those 160 foster children were to be adopted by their foster families next year, the state could save more than $1 million by not keeping them in the foster care system.

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    Friend-of-the-Court Briefs Submitted by Williams Institute Scholars in 8th Circuit Marriage Cases

    Williams Institute scholars, along with leading women’s legal organizations, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in the cases of Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard, Lawson v. Kelly, and Jernigan v. Crane. The amicus briefs argue that, like laws that discriminate based on sex, laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation warrant heightened judicial scrutiny because, among other considerations, such laws are based on overbroad gender stereotypes.

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    Demographics of Same-sex Couples in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota: Analyses of the 2013 American Community Survey

    By Gary Gates
    March 2015

    Analyzing data from the 2013 US American Community Survey, this report considers the demographic, economic, and geographic characteristics of same-sex couples (married and unmarried), especially those raising children, in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Comparisons are made with their different-sex counterparts.

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    Friend-of-the-Court Briefs Submitted by Williams Institute Scholars to U.S. Supreme Court in Marriage Cases

    Williams Institute scholars filed two amici briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in four cases concerning the constitutionality of state bans on marriage for same-sex couples. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 28, 2015 and its decision is expected in June 2015.

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    Demographics of Same-sex Couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee: Analyses of the 2013 American Community Survey

    By Gary J. Gates
    March 2015

    Analyzing data from the 2013 US American Community Survey, this report considers the demographic, economic, and geographic characteristics of same-sex couples (married and unmarried), especially those raising children, in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Comparisons are made with their different-sex counterparts.

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    Demographics of Married and Unmarried Same-sex Couples: Analyses of the 2013 American Community Survey

    By Gary J. Gates
    March 2015

    The US Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey marked the first time that a large national demographic survey explicitly identified both married and unmarried same-sex couples, allowing for separate analyses of these two groups. Married same-sex couples are five times more likely to be raising adopted or foster children than their different-sex counterparts, and have more economic resources than unmarried same-sex couples. These analyses outlined compare the demographic, economic, and geographic characteristics of these two groups, especially those raising children. Comparisons are also made with married and unmarried different-sex couples.

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    New Data from Marriage Licenses for Same-Sex Couples

    By M.V. Lee Badgett, Christy Mallory
    December 2014

    Administrative data from the states that recognized marriage and other relationship statuses for same-sex couples in early 2014 show that female couples are more likely to formalize their relationships than male couples; and that same-sex couples overall dissolve their legal relationships at a lower rate than different-sex couples. The data also suggest that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Windsor case in 2013 likely contributed to a marked increase in the number of same-sex couples marrying.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Puerto Rico

    By Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
    October 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Puerto Rico would generate an estimated $17.2 million in spending to the Commonwealth’s economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 4,742 same-sex couples live in Puerto Rico. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that fifty percent (2,371 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The marriages that would occur in the first year alone would bring about $11 million in revenue to Puerto Rico that year.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Wisconsin

    By Justin O'Neill, Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
    October 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Wisconsin would generate an estimated $34.3 million in spending to the state economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 9,179 same-sex couples live in Wisconsin. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that fifty percent (4,590 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The marriages that would occur in the first year alone would bring over $21.9 million in revenue to the state of Wisconsin that year.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Nebraska

    By Justin O'Neill, Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Nebraska would generate an estimated $8.0 million in spending to the state economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 2,356 same-sex couples live in Nebraska. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that fifty percent (1,178 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The marriages that would occur in the first year alone would bring about $5.2 million in revenue to the state of Nebraska that year.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Arkansas

    By Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
    October 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Arkansas would generate an estimated $13.6 million in spending to the state economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 4,226 same-sex couples live in Arkansas. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that fifty percent (2,113 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The marriages that would occur in the first year alone would bring about $8.7 million in revenue to the state of Arkansas that year.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Alabama

    By Justin O'Neill, Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
    October 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Alabama would generate an estimated $21.7 million in spending to the state economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 6,582 same-sex couples live in Alabama. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that fifty percent (3,291 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The marriages that would occur in the first year alone would bring about $13.9 million in revenue to the state of Alabama that year.

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