Federal Court Opens Marriage to Nearly 6,600 Same-Sex Couples in Alabama

For Immediate Distribution
January 23, 2015

Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871

LOS ANGELES — Today, a federal court struck down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. In Alabama, there are nearly 6,600 cohabiting same-sex couples, of whom an estimated 20% are raising nearly 2,700 children in their homes.
Williams Institute research also suggests that nearly 3,300 of these couples will marry in the first 3 years, generating $21.7 million to the state and local economy of Alabama and an additional $1.8 million in sales tax revenue. Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations is expected to create 108 to 323 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state. A full version of the state report is available here.

Key nationwide statistics include:

• Including Alabama, nearly eight-in-ten (77%) of same-sex couples across the country are living in 37 states where they can or soon will be able to marry and more than seven-in-ten Americans (72%) are living in states that allow or will soon allow marriage for same-sex couples.
• Williams Institute research suggests that there were 690,000 same-sex couples in the US in 2013 raising an estimated 200,000 children. As many as 30,000 of those children are being raised by married parents.
• Recent Williams Institute analyses suggest that the number of married same-sex couples, estimated to be as high as 130,000 in 2013, has increased by more than 50% over the last 3 years.

Williams Institute scholars have filed amicus briefs and served as expert witnesses in many cases concerning marriage rights for same-sex couples, and numerous courts have relied explicitly on William Institute research in striking down bans on marriage for same-sex couples.

The following Williams Institute Scholars are Available for Comment:

Gary Gates is Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. He provided “highly credible” testimony as an expert witness in the Michigan case, Deboer v. Snyder, in the 6th Circuit, and demographic analysis of Virginia from a friend-of-the-court brief he filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was cited in the majority opinion. He is the co-author of “The Gay and Lesbian Atlas” and a recognized expert on the demographic, geographic, and economic characteristics of the LGBT population. His work on that subject has been featured in many national and international media outlets. He holds a PhD in Public Policy from the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University along with a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vincent College and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

M. V. Lee Badgett is Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute. She is an expert on the economic impact of same-sex marriage and has served as an expert witness in various cases concerning the marriage rights of same-sex couples. She is also the director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as a professor of economics. She studies family policy issues and labor market discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, and gender. Her latest book, When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage (NYU Press, 2009), focuses on the U.S. and European experiences with marriage equality for gay couples. She co-edited the recent book, Sexual Orientation Discrimination: An International Perspective (Routledge, 2007). Her first book, Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men (University of Chicago Press, 2001), presented her groundbreaking work debunking the myth of gay affluence. She is also the author or co-author of numerous journal articles and policy reports.

Adam Romero is Senior Counsel and Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law at the Williams Institute. He leads the federal legal work of the Williams Institute, including the filing of amicus briefs in court cases concerning LGBT rights. Previously, Romero was a senior associate at the law firm WilmerHale, where he was a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation and Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Groups. He successfully represented the plaintiffs in Cooper-Harris v. USA, the first case in the nation to declare unconstitutional laws barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the veterans-benefits context. Romero completed clerkships for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and for the Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He received his law degree in 2007 from Yale Law School. Romero has published in numerous volumes and journals and is the co-editor (with Martha Albertson Fineman and Jack E. Jackson) of Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations (2009).

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