U.S. Supreme Court Opens Marriage to 1 Million Same-sex Couples Nationwide

For Immediate Distribution
June 26, 2015

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

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Supreme Court today legalized marriage equality nationwide by ruling that states can no longer ban same-sex couples from marrying.

In its historic decision, the Supreme Court cites research by the Williams Institute Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director Gary Gates, “As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. And hundreds of thousands of children are presently being raised by such couples. Most States have allowed gays and lesbians to adopt, either as individuals or as couples, and many adopted and foster children have same-sex parents. This provides powerful confirmation from the law itself that gays and lesbians can create loving, supportive families.”

According to Williams Institute research:

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

• 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.

• 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.

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

• Compared to all same-sex couples in the United States, those in the 13 states are more likely to have children, earn less, and are more likely to be racial or ethnic minorities.

• 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 same-sex marriage has increased in all 50 states since 2004, especially in states that have legalized same-sex marriage.

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.

A webinar with Williams Institute legal and social science experts will be held at 8-9 a.m. PDT on Monday, June 29 on the decision’s impact on state and local economies, families, stigma and LGBT health, and public opinion.

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