Marriage & Couples Rights

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    Friend-of-the-Court Briefs Submitted by Williams Institute Scholars in 4th Circuit Marriage Case

    April 2014

    Williams Institute scholars, along with the National Women’s Law Center and other leading women’s legal organizations, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of Bostic v. Schaefer. The amicus brief argues 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. Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, Gary Gates, also submitted a brief shedding light on the demographic and economic characteristics of same-sex couples and their families in Virginia.

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    Estimating the Economic Boost of Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

    By M.V. Lee Badgett, Sheila Nezhad, Christy Mallory
    April 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Virginia would generate up to $60 million in spending to the state economy. According to 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 14,244 same-sex couples live in Virginia. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (7,122 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Nearly 5,000 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring up to $38 million in revenue to the state of Virginia that year.

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

    By Erin G. Fitzgerald, Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
    April 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Oregon would generate nearly $50 million in spending to the state economy. According to 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 11,773 same-sex couples live in Oregon. Of those couples, the report estimates that 50 percent (5,887 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Nearly 4,000 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $30 million in revenue to the state of Oregon that year.

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

    By Lee Badgett, Christy Mallory
    April 2014

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Colorado would generate $50 million in spending to the state and local economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 12,424 same-sex couples live in Colorado. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50% (6,212 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Of the couples that will marry, 64% of those marriages will occur during the first year, 21% in the second year and 15% in the third years.

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  • Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Minnesota

    By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett
    April 2013

    Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Minnesota would bring an estimated $42 million to the state and local economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 10,207 same-sex couples live in Minnesota. Total state and local tax revenue would rise by $3 million, including an estimated $128,000 in local taxes. As seen in Iowa, same-sex couples from neighboring states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry may travel to Minnesota and generate additional spending on wedding and tourism-related goods and services.

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  • Public Support for Marriage for Same-sex Couples by State

    By Andrew R. Flores, Scott Barclay
    April 2013

    By the end of 2012, 12 states and the District of Columbia had support for same-sex marriage at or above 50%. Of these 12 states, all currently perform marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Thirteen additional states presently are within 5 percentage points of majority support. In the last eight years, every state has increased in its support for marriage for same-sex couples with an average increase of 13.6%. If present public opinion trends continue, another 8 states will be above 50% support by the end of 2014.

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  • Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Illinois

    By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett
    March 2013

    Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Illinois would generate up to $103 million in spending to the state and local economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 23,049 same-sex couples live in Illinois. Of those couples, the report estimates that 50% (11,525 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Of the couples that will marry, 64% of those marriages will occur during the first year, 21% in the second year and 15% in the third year.

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  • Friend-of-the-Court Briefs Submitted by Williams Institute Scholars in Two Marriage-Related Cases Pending Before the U.S. Supreme Court

    March 2013

    Williams Institute scholars participated in friend-of-the court briefs filed in two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases in which the Court is weighing the constitutionality of measures related to marriage by same-sex couples. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court is considering the validity of California’s Proposition 8, and in United States v. Windsor, the Court is considering the validity of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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  • Urban Bias, Rural Sexual Minorities, and the Courts

    By Luke Boso
    February 2013

    This article, originally published in the UCLA Law Review, examines the role of courts in rural sexual minorities’ lives. It focuses first on state action, explaining that courts’ failure to apply heightened scrutiny to sexual orientation classifications harms rural sexual minorities uniquely in family and employment law contexts, where judges explicitly invoke antigay rural norms to justify discriminatory treatment.

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  • Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being: Findings from the California Health Interview Survey

    By Richard G. Wight, Allen J. LeBlanc, and M.V. Lee Badgett
    December 2012

    Psychological distress is lower among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who are legally married to a person of the same sex, compared with those not in legally recognized unions. The study also has implications for understanding mental health disparities based on sexual orientation: There were no statistically significant differences in psychological distress between heterosexuals, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons in any type of legally recognized same-sex relationship.

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  • The Future Impact of Same-Sex Marriage: More Questions Than Answers

    By Nan D. Hunter
    October 2012

    The greatest potential for changes in the social meaning of marriage will arise in three areas for which there is empirical evidence of significant differences between gay and straight couples: division of household labor, sexual exclusivity & childrearing. While the number of same-sex couples in the population is too small to produce significant change in overall patterns of behavior, the issue of gay marriage has generated so much attention and debate that a mixed process of gay assimilation to and effect on the social meaning of marriage is a reasonable expectation.

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  • Same-Sex Couples and Marriage: Model Legislation for Allowing Same-Sex Couples to Marry or All Couples to Form a Civil Union

    By Jennifer C. Pizer and Sheila James Kuehl
    August 2012

    A “Model Marriage Code” and a “Model Civil Union Code” will ensure greater consistency and predictability among state laws offering protections to same-sex couples. It also will reduce confusion when separate state rules governing same-sex and different-sex couples affect employers, businesses, government and other institutions.

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  • Sexual Liberty and Same-Sex Marriage: An Argument from Bisexuality

    By Michael Boucai
    August 2012

    Published in the San Diego Law Review, this article proposes that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas because they channel people, particularly bisexuals, into heterosexual relations and relationships. In addition to detailing this claim’s legal and factual bases, “Sexual Liberty and Same-Sex Marriage” refutes the supposed doctrinal imperatives that underlie bisexual erasure in gay rights litigation.

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  • Extending Medicaid Long-Term Care Impoverishment Protections to Same-Sex Couples

    By Jennifer C. Pizer, Craig J. Konnoth, Christy Mallory, Brad Sears
    June 2012

    This report explains CMS’s approach to extending Medicaid impoverishment protections to same-sex couples, and provides general information about the procedures through which the protections may be provided by states. States specific reports available for Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia.

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  • Animus Thick and Thin: The Broader Impact of the Ninth Circuit Decision in Perry v. Brown

    By Nan D. Hunter
    March 2012

    The major contribution of the Perry decision is to illuminate the meaning of animus, a term that is sharply contested in Equal Protection jurisprudence, and to explicate its relationship to standards of review. The Ninth Circuit holds that evidence of animosity toward a disfavored group triggers a heightened rational basis standard of review. The Court of Appeals in Perry also takes a new perspective on how courts should assess the validity of popularly enacted initiatives such as Proposition 8. For both proponents and opponents of popular constitutionalism, the gay marriage debates raise the question of whether voters or courts should get the last word in a constitutional democracy when they take polar opposite positions on a minority rights issue.

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  • Marriage (In)equality: The Perspectives of Adolescents and Emerging Adults With Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Parents

    By Abbie E. Goldberg, Katherine A. Kuvalanka
    February 2012

    Forty-nine adolescents and emerging adults with lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents were interviewed to examine how individuals perceived themselves and their families as being affected by marriage (in)equality. More than two thirds of participants voiced unequivocal support for marriage equality, citing numerous legal and symbolic benefits that their families were denied.

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  • Brief of Amici Curiae: Donaldson v. Montana

    By Jennifer C. Pizer
    December 2011

    Montana’s 1,348 same-sex couples resemble married, different-sex couples in many ways. Like married couples, Montana’s same-sex couples live throughout the state, are financially interdependent, participate in the economy, and are raising children.

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  • Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Iowa: Sales Tax

    By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett, Jody L. Herman
    December 2011

    Total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by same-sex couples and their guests added an estimated $12 to $13 million boost to the state and local economy of Iowa. Economic boost is likely to have added $850,000 to $930,000 in tax revenue to state and local coffers.

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  • Same-sex Couples and Immigration in the United States

    Gary J. Gates and Craig Konnoth
    November 2011

    There are an estimated 28,500 binational same-sex couples and nearly 11,500 same-sex couples in which neither partner is a U.S. citizen. None of these 40,000 couples are eligible to use the immigration preferences available to different-sex spouses. These couples are raising almost 25,000 children.

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  • Separate and Not Equal: Bi-National Same–Sex Couples

    M.V. Lee Badgett, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2011, vol. 36 No. 4
    November 2011

    In an article published recently in Signs, Williams Institute Research Director Lee Badgett discusses her research on bi-national same-sex couples living in the Netherlands.

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