Report: More lesbians marry than do gay men, gays have lower divorce rate

Michelle Giorgi and Karen Madrone share a lighter moment with the Rev. Julie Peebles as she officiates in their wedding at the Guilford County Register of Deeds office on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C. Lynn Hey, News & Record (AP)

Michelle Giorgi and Karen Madrone share a lighter moment with the Rev. Julie Peebles as she officiates in their wedding at the Guilford County Register of Deeds office on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C. Lynn Hey, News & Record (AP)

Michelle Giorgi and Karen Madrone share a lighter moment with the Rev. Julie Peebles as she officiates in their wedding at the Guilford County Register of Deeds office on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act has contributed to a significant increase in the number of same-sex couples marrying – even in states that had marriage equality long before the decision — according to new analysis by the Williams Institute.

State administrative data shows that the number of same-sex couples who married nearly doubled in marriage equality states from 2012 to 2013.

The Williams Institute’s finding of this “Windsor Effect” (a reference to the U.S. v. Windsor case) is part of a series of new analyses based on administrative data from states that recognized same-sex marriages and relationships as of early 2014.

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These analyses also show that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of all same-sex couples who entered legal relationships are female and that on average 1.1 percent of same-sex couples dissolve their relationships each year. This rate is lower than the annual divorce rate for married different-sex couples (2 percent).

The Williams Institute, in partnership with Credit Suisse, has also released a new, interactive resource exploring the amount of money state economies have to gain by allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Based on a series of state-level studies, the resource estimates that the nationwide economic boost from marriage of same-sex couples could be up to $2.6 billion in just the first three years.

“Same-sex couples and their out-of-town guests spend money to celebrate weddings,” said Williams Institute scholar M.V. Lee Badgett,. “As we have seen in states that already extend marriage to same-sex couples, this spending boost can lead to an influx of tourism dollars that benefit local businesses and an increase in state and local tax revenue.”

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