Almost 17,000 Same-Sex Couples Now Eligible For Marriage Benefits in New Jersey

For Immediate Distribution
October 21, 2013

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Brenda Arredondo, barredondo@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-4945

One third of US population now lives in a state where same-sex couples can marry.

LOS ANGELES— Today, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped his appeal to a Superior Court ruling sanctioning same-sex marriage in the state, opening up state marriage benefits to nearly 17,000 same-sex couples, and approximately 250,000 LGBT individuals, according to Williams Institute data. Previous to today, New Jersey same-sex couples could enter into civil unions with fewer benefits than they will receive if they marry.

“The data are clear that legalizing marriage in New Jersey will benefit both thousands of New Jersey same-sex couples who decide to marry and the broader state economy,” said Williams Distinguished Scholar, Gary Gates.

Williams Distinguished Scholar, Lee Badgett, predicted that same-sex marriage could add as much as $94 million to the New Jersey economy on the high-end and $23 million on the low end. Much of the boost would come in the form of spending on marriage-related activities, including taxes and tourism.

Additionally, a significant portion of New Jersey same-sex couples are raising children who are certain to benefit from the legal recognition of their parents’ union at the state and federal levels. Also, 20 percent of New Jersey same-sex couples have children, and those 3,300 couples are raising approximately 6,500 children under age 18.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in New Jersey raises the percentage of the U.S. population living in a marriage equality state to 33 percent.  Forty percent of same-sex couples and 36 percent of all LGBT people in the U.S. are currently living in a marriage equality state.  Before today, those numbers were 37 and 33 percent respectively.

Click here for New Jersey state-level research.