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Nearly half of all Americans live where there is some recognition of same-sex couples

Timothy Kincaid

March 3rd, 2010

US Map

About 5.1% of Americans (15.5 million) live in areas in which same-sex marriages are legal and equal to opposite-sex marriages: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.

Another 58.4 million (19.2%) live in states which have either civil unions or domestic partnerships that offer all the rights and protections of marriage without the name: California, New Jersey, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington. To that we can add two more states (New York and Maryland) in which the local state government will honor marriage occurring elsewhere and we have a total of 32.6% of Americans living with the rights and responsibilities of marriage available to their family.

There are also five states which recognize same-sex couples and offer them limited itemized rights. They are Hawaii, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, and Rhode Island and they add an additional 14.2 million Americans (4.7%).

But recognition does not stop there. There are dozens more counties and cities who provide what local recognition and benefits as they can, adding another 14.2 million local residents (4.7% of Americans) who can appreciate that their city officials see them as a couple. Local municipalities include the populations of Salt Lake City, UT; Phoeniz AZ; Tuscon AZ; Duluth, MN; Minneapolis, MN; St. Paul, MN; Lawrence, KS; Columbia, MO; Kansas City, MO; St. Lewis, MO; Ann Arbor, MI; Cook County, IL (Chicago); Urbana, IL; Cleveland, OH; Cleveland Heights, OH; Toledo, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Harrisburg, PA; El Paso, TX; Travis County, TX (Austin); Eureka Springs, AK; New Orleans, LA; Carrboro, NC; Chapel Hill, NC; Clarke County, GA (Athens); Fulton County, GA (Atlanta); Broward County, FL (Fort Lauderdale); Key West, FL; Miami-Dade County, FL; and West Palm Beach, FL.

In total about 140 million Americans – about 46% of the nation’s population – live where there is some form of official notice of same-sex couples. So NOM can proclaim “victory” when they have an election in California or Maine, but this ball is rolling and the momentum is in the direction of recognition.



David C.
March 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Interestingly, society has not collapsed.

Victor B.
March 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Actually, society collapsed a while ago, but not because of gay marriage.

Paul in Canada
March 4th, 2010 | LINK

In total about 140 million Americans – about 46% of the nation’s population – live where there is some form of official notice of same-sex couples.

Add to that, the number of Americans living in a city or near the border with Canada where full same-sex equality is legislated, protected and (mostly) celebrated. Hard to believe anyone can deny that the times-they-are-a-changing.

And by the way, if the official (first ever) Gay Athletes Pavillion at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver doesn’t demonstrate we are proud and inclusive, nothing does.

Paul in Canada
March 4th, 2010 | LINK

Re. the LGBTQ Olympic Pavillion – here’s a great link:

March 4th, 2010 | LINK

That would be St. Louis, MO, not St. Lewis, Mo….

March 4th, 2010 | LINK

Also, if the Prop. 8 case goes before SCOTUS, hopefully someone points this fact out that before the court in an amicus brief or during oral arguments because the justices like to use the “consensus of the states” when it justifies its arguments in its opinions.

Johnny Underscore
March 5th, 2010 | LINK

The problem is, civil unions and domestic partnerships DON’T offer all the rights and protections of marriage without the name. The differences are subtle in some cases but they’re very real.

Rich R.
March 5th, 2010 | LINK

Its encouraging anyways, I live in Canada too and I think we hear more about the negative things happening on the equality front in the US which can be very disheartening but this is good news and very encouraging, the road towards full legal equality may be long but it is inevitable that all states in the US will get there eventually. I’m sorry you have to face such hostile opposition though, we had it much easier in Canada due to our Charter of Rights, but I’m certain in the long run the truth will win out and full legal equality will happen.

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