With the passage of its new Marriage Equality Act (A8354-2011), New York will be the sixth and by far the largest state to recognize gay marriages -- the others are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa, plus Washington, D.C. How many couples are likely to wed? What will they look like? What else is likely to change?
To gain some insight into these and other related questions, I turned to demographer Gary Gates of the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, who is one of the leading researchers on gay and lesbian demography and co-author of The Gay and Lesbian Atlas.
How many people will be affected by this new law?
• There are an estimated 42,600 same-sex couples in New York of whom 21 percent, or nearly 9,000, are already legally married, according to a 2010 Williams Institute/Harris Interactive Survey. Approximately 7,200 of New York's same-sex couples are raising about 14,000 children.
How many more Americans are now eligible to marry?
• With the passage of the New York State Marriage Equality Act, the percentage of the U.S. population living in a state that allows same-sex couples to marry has more than doubled, from 5.1 percent to 11.4 percent according to the 2010 Census. Similarly, the percentage of same-sex couples living in states that allow them to marry has doubled from 6.9 percent to 14.3 percent.
How many same-sex couples are currently married?
• About 80,000.
How does that vary in states with marriage equality versus those without?
• An estimated 38 percent of same-sex couples living in states that allow them to marry are currently married compared to 12 percent in states that do not allow same-sex couples to marry.
More from Gates and the Williams Institute on the New York Marriage Equality Act can be found here.