U.S. Supreme Court Could Open Marriage in States Where Same-sex Couples Face Greater Socioeconomic Disparities

For Immediate Distribution
June 24, 2015

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

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Supreme Court this week could legalize marriage equality in 13 states where same-sex couples are more likely to have children, have lower household incomes, and be non-white, according to analyses by Gary J. Gates, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.

The 13 states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry are among the 28 states that do not have statewide non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and the 31 states that do not protect for gender identity.

According to Williams Institute research, in those 13 states:

• Same-sex couples are more likely to have children (20%) compared to all same-sex couples in the United States (18%), and have average household incomes ($98,000) that are 17% below the national average for all same-sex couples ($118,000). The comparable gap among different-sex married couples is 9% ($93,000 vs. $102,000).

• Same-sex couples with children under age 18 are particularly economically disadvantaged with average household incomes ($81,000) that are 22% below the national average for all same-sex couples raising children ($105,000). The comparable gap among different-sex married couples is 10% ($96,000 vs. $107,000).

• Same-sex couples with children have average household incomes that are 15% less than different-sex married couples with children. Nationwide, that gap is 2%.

• Individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities than nationwide.

Nationwide, married same-sex couples have a median household income that is approximately 27% higher than the median income of unmarried same-sex couples. Poverty is substantially less common among married same-sex couples (4%) than among unmarried same-sex couples (18%).

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.

Share Button