U.S. Supreme Court Could Open Marriage to 150,000 Same-sex Couples Living in States that Still Ban Marriage Equality

For Immediate Distribution
June 22, 2015

Lauren Jow, jow@law.ucla.edu, 310-206-0314

LOS ANGELES — If the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes marriage equality nationwide this week, an estimated 70,000 same-sex couples living in the 13 states that do not allow it are expected to marry in the next three years.

According to Williams Institute research:

• The number of married same-sex couples in the United States has tripled since 2013. An estimated 390,000 same-sex couples are currently married.

• Approximately 150,000 same-sex couples live in the 13 states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry. An estimated 70,000 of those couples will marry in the next three years.

• There are approximately 1 million same-sex couples (married and unmarried) living together in the United States.

• An estimated 122,000 same-sex couples are raising 210,000 children under age 18, of whom 58,000 are adopted or foster children. Same-sex couples are nearly three times as likely as their different-sex counterparts to be raising an adopted or foster child. Married same-sex couples are five times more likely to have these children when compared to their married different-sex counterparts.

• In Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee – the states specifically at issue in the cases before the Supreme Court – 19 percent (nearly 11,000) of the 56,000 same-sex couples are raising more than 18,000 children under 18 years old.

• Public support for marriage equality has increased in all 50 states since 2004, especially in states that have opened marriage to same-sex couples.

Clustered in the South and Midwest, the 13 states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry likely will see a collective economic boost of $546 million over the next three years as a result of wedding spending by same-sex couples. In addition to boosting state economies, wedding spending is expected to generate almost $50 million in state and local sales tax revenue and create up to 6,200 jobs across the 13 states.

State Same-sex Couples Total % Same-sex Couples Raising Kids Same-sex Couples Who Will Marry Economic Impact Tax Revenue Jobs Created
Arkansas 4,226 21% 2,113 $13.6M $1.3M 45-135
Georgia 21,318 20% 10,659 $78.8 $5.5M 329-988
Kentucky 7,195 18% 3,598 $23.4 $1.4M 109-328
Louisiana 8,076 20% 4,038 $28.3M $2.5M 97-290
Michigan 14,598 18% 7,299 $53.2M $3.2M 152-457
Mississippi 3,484 26% 1,742 $10.8M $6.9M 49-146
Missouri 10,557 17% 5,279 $36.3M $2.8M 312-936
Nebraska 2,356 20% 1,178 $8.0M $550,000 31-94
North Dakota 559 22% 280 $1.9M $125,000 8-24
Ohio 19,684 18% 9,842 $70.8M $5.0M 296-889
South Dakota 714 21% 357 $2.4M $140,000 7-21
Tennessee 10,898 18% 5,449 $36.7M $3.5M 111-332
Texas 46,401 20% 23,200 $181.6M $14.8M 523-1,570
Total 150,066 17% (national) 70,034 $545.8M $47.7M 2,069-6,210

Williams Institute scholars have filed amicus briefs and served as expert witnesses in many cases concerning marriage rights for same-sex couples, including all of the cases before the Supreme Court.  Numerous courts have relied explicitly on William Institute research in striking down bans on marriage for same-sex couples, including the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits.

Williams Institute scholars are available for comment. To set up interviews, contact Lauren Jow at jow@law.ucla.edu or 310-206-0314.