Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/16/2014 10:59 PM

5 questions and answers about same-sex marriage

Success - Article sent! close
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The first legal same-sex weddings in the U.S. were held 10 years ago Saturday in Massachusetts. Since then, more than a dozen states and Washington, D.C., have followed suit, though opposition remains stiff in many other places. Some questions and answers about the issue:



Precise numbers are hard to come by because most states that allow same-sex marriages do not legally distinguish between them and heterosexual marriages. The Williams Institute, a national think tank, estimated in 2013 that more than 100,000 gay couples had married in the United States since 2004.



Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington state and the District of Columbia. Judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Idaho and Arkansas have struck down state bans, but officials are appealing and Arkansas was ordered Friday to halt same-sex marriages again. Judges have ordered Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.



Argentina, Belgium, Britain, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay allow same-sex marriage nationwide. The United States and Mexico allow it in some regions.



Both sides generally agree that 10 years is not enough time to study any broad effects of same-sex marriage.

Opponents say children need a mother and a father, but the American Psychological Association says the majority of studies that have compared gay parents with heterosexual parents show that the children of same-sex couples are just as psychologically healthy as the children of heterosexual couples.

Supporters of gay marriage have claimed they're a financial boon for participating states, but only limited studies have been done of economic effects. A study by the Williams Institute found that during the first five years of same-sex weddings in Massachusetts, the state economy saw a $111 million boost from spending on weddings and by guests at hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.



Lawsuits are pending in at least 30 states. Some current battleground states include Virginia, Utah and Pennsylvania.

In Utah, a voter-approved ban was overturned by a federal judge in December. Hundreds of couples rushed to marry before courts could intervene. A ruling is expected within months from a federal appeals court.

In Virginia, a federal judge in February struck down a state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage. A federal appeals panel heard arguments Tuesday, and a decision is expected within months.

In Pennsylvania, various aspects of a 1996 state law that bans recognition of same-sex marriage are being challenged by at least six different lawsuits in state and federal courts.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    Winner - 2015 Best Website
    Illinois Press Association
    Illinois Press Association