Gay Marriage Facts – 10 Facts about Gay Marriage
- 70% of States Have Gay Marriage, 15 States Ban It
- The First Same-Sex Marriage Was in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004
- 11 Native American Tribes Recognize Gay Marriage
- There are 1,138 Legal Rights and Protections Provided by Gay Marriage
- Support for Gay Marriage Doubled from 27% to 55% between 1996 and 2014
- 33% of Americans Say that Gay Marriage Should Be Rejected
- Twice as Many People in the South Oppose Gay Marriage
- There Have Been 71,165 Gay Marriages in the US
- Lesbians Account for 60% of Gay Marriages
- 20 Countries Around the World Allow Gay Marriage
1. 70% of States Have Gay Marriage, 15 States Ban It
Whether it’s through court decision, state law makers or popular vote, 35 states in the United States have now legalized same-sex marriage. This is one of the promising gay marriage facts because now 70% of states allow same-sex couples to marry each other.
There are currently 15 states that ban same-sex marriage. However, gay marriage facts show that there are appeals in the courts of many of these states.
Many gay marriage facts teach us about court cases and legal issues surrounding gay marriage. Marriage provides certain legal rights to spouses. There are concerns among some quarters about whether or not same-sex couples should have these legal rights. These concerns have shaped the debate over gay marriage, with different groups quoting gay marriage facts to support their case.
When you look at gay marriage from the perspective of legal rights of couples, it’s clear that this is an issue of civil rights. Many people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community see the effort to legalize gay marriage as being as important as the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.
2. The First Same-Sex Marriage Was in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004
Gay marriage facts teach us that, historically, there was nowhere for same-sex couples to legally get married in the Unites States until 2004. While some states did not have specific laws banning gay marriage, no states had specific laws that governed the marriage of same-sex couples.
In 1972, one of the most important gay marriage facts was established. An important court case, Baker v. Nelson, was decided. This same-sex marriage case from Minnesota would set the legal precedent for rulings for the next 30 years. This court case was argued on behalf of two gay student activists who were seeking to be married. The case was argued all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was dismissed based on the same reasons provided by lower courts.
While the Supreme Court didn’t actually hear the case, this created the precedent that lower courts could not reach a decision against. This also prevented lower courts from examining the issue again.
It wasn’t until many years later that the lower courts began to look at the issue again in the light of changes that had occurred in the laws governing equal treatment of Americans. Gay marriage facts show that Massachusetts became the first state to recognize the legal right of same-sex couples to marry on May 17, 2004.
3. 11 Native American Tribes Recognize Gay Marriage
In the United States, Native American tribes have jurisdiction over many of their own affairs. As part of this jurisdiction, Native Americans have the right to form their own laws governing marriage.
There are 11 Native American tribes that recognize same-sex marriage. Among these are the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the Coquille Tribe, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe.
Recent gay marriage facts show that in 2013, the Lipay Nation of Santa Ysabel became the first Native American tribe in California to recognize same-sex marriage.
4. There are 1,138 Legal Rights and Protections Provided by Gay Marriage
One of the most important gay marriage facts is the number of legal rights and protections that marriage offers in the United States. There are more than 1,138 legal rights and protections that people receive from the federal government after being married.
Same-sex couples see these rights as basic rights for married couples, and argue all citizens deserve to have the same rights. This is why the effort to legalize gay marriage is often compared to the Civil Rights Movement. For advocates of gay marriage, the effort is part of the overall movement towards greater civil rights in the United States.
Some of these rights include access to benefits, especially health insurance coverage and Social Security benefits. More personal rights include hospital visitation, family leave and estate planning. Many people who are against gay marriage see these gay marriage facts as reasons why same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry. People who are against gay marriage don’t think same-sex couples should have access to the legal rights that come with marriage in the United States.
5. Support for Gay Marriage Doubled from 27% to 55% between 1996 and 2014
One of the greatest gay marriage facts for supporters of gay marriage is that public support for same-sex marriage has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years. In 1996, when Americans were surveyed, only about one quarter of Americans, or 27%, supported same-sex marriages.
When the polls were taken almost 20 years later, in 2014, statistics showed that more than one half (55%) of Americans supported same-sex marriage. When we look at these gay marriage facts more closely, a surprising trend emerges.
We might assume that the change in these polls is due to younger generations and more progressive attitudes. However, a closer examination of the statistics shows that the acceptance of same-sex marriage is accelerating. Gay marriage facts tell us that it’s not only younger generations; people in older generations are actually changing their minds about same-sex marriage!
6. 33% of Americans Say that Gay Marriage Should Be Rejected
While gay marriage facts show attitudes in the United States are changing, there are at least 4 major countries with more liberal views towards same-sex relations than the US. In the United States, 33% of people say homosexuality should be rejected by society. Compare this with the 60% of people who say that homosexuality should be accepted by society.
In Western Europe, the rates of acceptance are much higher. The highest is in Spain, where gay marriage facts show that 91% of people believe homosexuality should be accepted by society. Germany is second highest, with 87% of people saying society should accept same-sex relations.
Although attitudes are improving, when you compare the 60% of acceptance for same-sex relations in America with the statistics for acceptance in other countries, we have plenty of room for improvement. While acceptance in France and Great Britain is not as high as Spain and Germany, more than 80% of both British and French people say that same-sex relations should be accepted by society.
7. Twice as Many People in the South Oppose Gay Marriage
Gay marriage facts show that the opinions regarding same-sex marriage vary between different regions of the United States. In particular, studies show that people in the South are twice as likely to oppose gay marriage as people from New England. Half of the people surveyed in the South Central United States (50%) oppose gay marriage, while only one quarter of people in New England (25%) oppose gay marriage.
While these regions are polarized, gay marriage facts show the rest of the United States has a more narrow range of opinion. In the Pacific, 30% of people oppose gay marriage, compared with 42% in the Mountain region of the United States.
Surprisingly, gay marriage facts show that most Americans, even those that oppose gay marriage, see the legal recognition of gay marriage as inevitable. 72% of Americans believe gay marriage is likely to become legal everywhere in the United States.
8. There Have Been 71,165 Gay Marriages in the US
Ironically, the number of gay marriages in the United States is one of the most difficult gay marriage facts to determine. By and large, the legal handling of same-sex marriages has occurred at the state level. It’s only recently that the Supreme Court and the United States government has gotten involved in the issue of gay marriage again at the federal level. As a result, the reporting of each state varies. However, we can clearly establish there have been at least 71,165 gay marriages in the United States since the first gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2004.
Massachusetts, perhaps as a result of recognizing same-sex marriage first, has the highest recorded the number of gay marriages of any state, with 22,406. California is second, with 18,000 gay marriages on record. However, the figure for California is an estimate because voters quickly overturned same-sex marriage in California after it was first acknowledged by the state in 2008. This shows why establishing the number of gay marriages is surprisingly one of the more difficult gay marriage facts to establish.
9. Lesbians Account for 60% of Gay Marriages
Many states now no longer require people to state their sex on a marriage license. For instance, in New York State, 7,950 couples did not specify their sex on their marriage license. It is assumed that at least some of these couples were same-sex couples.
As such, it is difficult to determine the exact number of gay men and women who are married. More than 50,000 of the estimated 70,000-plus same-sex marriages in the United States did have the sex of the couples specified on the marriage licenses. From these 50,000 marriages, we can establish marriage facts about whether men or women are more likely to be in a same-sex marriage.
Looking at the data, 60% of these marriages were between two women. This is interesting when we look at opinions in the LGBT community about marriage. Gay men and women report wanting to be married roughly equally, with 56% of gay men, and 58% of gay women reporting they want to be married. However, women are more likely to take the leap and actually wed.
10. 20 Countries Around the World Allow Gay Marriage
Worldwide, more countries are recognizing same-sex marriages between couples. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to recognize same-sex marriages, in December of 2000. Belgium had given limited rights to same-sex couples in 1998, and by 2003, they had also fully recognized same-sex marriage.
The United States, while not first, was not far behind, at least in the sense that Massachusetts recognized gay marriage in 2004. However, the United States has yet to recognize gay marriage at the federal level. More facts about gay marriage around the world tell us that Canada provided full rights to same-sex couples in 2005, as did Spain. Since then, more countries have allowed gay marriage and, in 2014, 20 countries around the world allowed gay marriage in the entire country, or in certain areas.
Facts about Gay Marriage Summary
Gay marriage facts show us that there is growing acceptance for same-sex marriage in the United States. Over 70,000 gay marriages have been performed in the United States, and there could be many more that have not been reported. This is because in the United States, marriage is still handled at the state level. While more states recognize gay marriage, gay marriage facts show that 15 states still have bans in effect.
Massachusetts was the first state to allow gay marriage, and New Englanders continue to have the least opposition to same-sex marriages. Around the world, more countries are allowing gay marriage. In recent years, court cases are increasingly deciding in favor of same-sex couples. Gay marriage facts are becoming more positive for people who believe same-sex couples deserve the same rights of marriage as opposite sex couples.