Patterns of relationship recognition by same-sex couples in the United States

By M.V. Lee Badgett and Jody L. Herman
November 2011

This study uses the best available administrative data to provide a dynamic picture of the demand for legal recognition among same-sex couples and a portrait of the couples seeking recognition. In the U.S., over 140,000 same-sex couples have formalized their relationship under state law and nearly 50,000 have married.  The data show that same-sex couples marry at much higher rates than they enter civil unions or other legal statuses.  Same-sex couples entering these relationships are predominantly female and younger than all currently married different-sex couples, but older than newly-married different-sex couples. When a state allows marriage for same-sex couples, over 60% of those who marry come from other states.  Couples will travel to marry from nearby states and from large states in which they do not enjoy that same opportunity.

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to read the full study.