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Report: Illinois marriage equality would have big financial impact
Williams Institute news release, Equality Illinois response
2012-03-28

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Opening marriage to same-sex couples in Illinois will have positive effects for 23,049 couples raising 7,662 children, according to a Williams Institute news release. Weddings by resident Illinois couples alone will generate between $39 and $72 million over 3 years

LOS ANGELES — As the Illinois legislature considers a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Williams Institute, a leading research institute on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy at the UCLA School of Law, released the following statistics and references to illustrate the potential impacts of the bill. The data below are based on Williams Institute analyses, with the source of the data analyzed, or supporting publication, following in parentheses.

SAME-SEX COUPLES AND THEIR FAMILIES:

There are an estimated 23,049 same-sex couples in Illinois. [Census 2010]

An estimated 3,831 of the same-sex couples in Illinois are raising approximately 7,662 children. [Census 2010]

Nationally, an estimated 1 10,000 same-sex couples are raising children, more than 200,000 children in total. [Census 2010]

MARRIAGE & CIVIL UNIONS/DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS:

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]

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]

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MARRIAGE:

Allowing same-sex couples to marry will have positive effects on the Illinois economy and tax revenues. Over three years, weddings by resident Illinois couples alone will generate between $39 and $72 million for the state economy, generating $4.5 to $8 million in new sales and lodging tax revenues. These estimates take into account that some couples have already entered into civil unions and do not include spending by out-of-state couples. [Calculation by Williams Institute staff]

HEALTH CONSEQUENCES:

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]

LEGAL LANDSCAPE:

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry, and Governor Gregoire of Washington State signed legislation on February 13, 2012 to allow same-sex couples to marry in that state. Maryland Governor O'Malley did the same on March 1, 2012. These laws will take effect if referendum proposals now circulating in both states do not qualify for the ballot.

Illinois currently allows both same-sex and different-sex couples to enter civil unions (as of June 1, 2011). Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey and Rhode Island also have civil union laws.

California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have state-level domestic partnership registries through which couples can assume the same obligations, rights and protections as married spouses under state law.

Maine, Maryland and Wisconsin offer limited domestic partnership protections

Equality Illinois responds

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois applauds a new analysis released today that shows that marriage equality will strengthen thousands of Illinois families and boost the state economy at no cost to taxpayers.

The report was prepared by the Williams Institute, a leading research arm of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, as Illinois lawmakers consider the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would guarantee marriage equality under state law.

"This report affirms that there are no reasons in logic or law why thousands of Illinois couples and their children should be deprived of the same legal protections and social and community support that other families enjoy," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Randy Hannig, Director of Public Policy of Equality Illinois, said he and the Equality Illinois bipartisan lobbying team will use the Williams Institute report as they discuss the bill with state lawmakers and the Quinn Administration.

"When the state is struggling to raise every dollar possible, it is good to point to marriage equality as something that costs taxpayers nothing, serves to improve the state's business environment and brings in millions of dollars in revenue," Hannig said.

The analysis found that extending marriage to same-sex couples will potentially benefit 23,049 same-sex couples in Illinois, including an estimated 3,831 couples raising more than 7,662 children.

During the first six months of implementation of the Illinois civil union law, June 1 — Nov. 30, 2011, Equality Illinois found that 3,729 couples applied for civil union licenses throughout the state.

The Williams Institute research also found that allowing same-sex couples to marry will have positive effects on the Illinois economy and tax revenues because weddings by resident Illinois couples will generate between $39 million and $72 million for the state economy, creating $4.5 million to $8 million in new sales and lodging tax revenues over three years.

The complete Williams Institute analysis can be found at williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/ .


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