Nation, World + Society

New report by UCLA Law’s Williams Institute shows surge in marriages for same-sex couples

Data has been used in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to Supreme Court related to same-sex marriage cases


The number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has nearly tripled in the last year, according to data from Gallup analyzed by researchers at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute. The new figures suggest that, as of February 2015, there are about 350,000 married same-sex couples in the country.

Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates reviewed new preliminary data from Gallup, which showed that more than 700,000 Americans are part of a married same-sex couple, compared to estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, which had the number at about 260,000.  

“These new figures showing a surge in same-sex couples marrying across the country highlight the historic nature of the past year for LGBT individuals and their families,” said Gates, who is the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute.

Two new research reports authored by Gates show that same-sex couples, particularly married ones, are more likely to be raising adopted or foster children than their different-sex counterparts. The reports also found that same-sex couples with children have a lower median annual income than different-sex couples with kids. Similarly to different-sex couples, same-sex couples that are married are more economically secure.

“The debates about marriage and same-sex couples have focused substantial attention on the idea that marriage is a great environment for raising children,” Gates said. “Same-sex couples seem to agree. Married same-sex couples are much more likely than their unmarried counterparts to have kids, particularly adopted and foster children.”

Findings from the two Williams Institute reports will be included in a friend-of-the-court brief that were submitted March 6 to the Supreme Court of the United States as part of the same-sex marriage cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Read the full version of the news release.

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