As the Maryland legislature approaches a vote on the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples, the Williams Institute, a leading research institute on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy, released the following statistics and references to illustrate the potential impacts of the bill.
All of the data below is based on Williams Institute analyses, with the source of the data analyzed, or supporting publication, following in parentheses.
- There are an estimated 12,538 same-sex couples in Maryland, of whom 2,321 identify as spouses. [Census 2010]
- More than 2,544 of the same-sex couples in Maryland are raising children, nearly 5,088 children in total. Of those same-sex couples in the State who identify as spouses, 36% are raising children. [Census 2010]
- Nationally, an estimated 110,000 same-sex couples are raising children, more than 200,000 in total. [Census 2010]
- Approximately 50,000 same-sex couples have entered into legal marriages in the United States. [Badgett, et al., Patterns of Relationship Recognition by Same-Sex Couples in the United States (Patterns of Recognition), Williams Institute, 2011]
- Allowing same-sex couples to marry will have positive effects on the Maryland economy and tax revenues. Over three years, weddings by resident Maryland couples alone will generate between $40 and $64 million for the state economy, generating $2.5 to $4 million in new sales and lodging tax revenues. These estimates do not include spending by out-of-state couples. [2012 Williams Institute Analysis]
- Same-sex couples prefer marriage over civil unions or registered domestic partnerships, even when those non-marriage statuses extend all or almost all of the rights and obligations of marriage under state law. An average of 30% of same-sex couples married in the first year that their state allowed them to marry, while only 18% entered into a civil union or broad domestic partnership in the first year their states offered these statuses. [Patterns of Recognition]
The opportunity to marry has positive health consequences for same-sex couples:
- Same-sex couples gain social support from their families and a greater level of commitment to each other when they can marry. [Ramos, et al., The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts: A Survey of the Experiences and Impact of Marriage on Same-Sex Couples, Williams Institute, 2009]
- Although lesser forms of legal recognition for one’s same-sex relationship had positive health effects for the gay men studied, being legally married boosted emotional health to a greater extent than being in a legally recognized domestic partnership or civil union. [R. Wight, et al., Stress and Mental Health Among Midlife and Older Gay-Identified Men, American Journal of Public Health, Jan. 19, 2012]
- The stress that comes from social exclusion and stigma can lead to adverse health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicide attempts. [Badgett, et al., Written Testimony: S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families, pages 10-12, Williams Institute, 2011]