Same-Sex Couples Boost Marriage Numbers in New York

Do same-sex couples “threaten” marriage? Are heterosexual unions somehow vulnerable if gays and lesbians have the same legal rights and benefits? The idea that marriage is “under attack” has become common rhetoric among anti-gay groups and public figures. GOP candidate Rick Santorum, for example, recently blamed LGBTs for the nationwide decline in marriage reported by the Pew Research Center.

But recent statistics out of New York dispute this. The Wall Street Journal reports that the city saw a 14 percent increase in marriages from July to December. New York State legalized same-sex marriage on July 24. Compared to the same time period in 2010, an additional 4,042 marriage licenses were issued last year.

City clerk Michael McSweeney told the WSJ that his office has been overwhelmed but thrilled by the boost. “It’s been much busier for us than this time last year,” he said. “But we’re delighted to see the extra business because we understand the impact.”

The state Department of Health is still gathering its own data on same-sex marriages and has yet to release an official number. In New York, counties aren’t required to collect gender information from marriage license applicants, so New York City doesn’t ask. “We don’t want to put people in a position of self-identification,” McSweeney told the WSJ.

However, officials point out that marriage statistics in New York City had been relatively stagnant before July 24. They estimate that gay and lesbian unions account for 12 percent of the total number of new marriages in the latter half of 2011. Some of the newlyweds are couples who had been waiting years or even decades to get married.

“It’s not that we were sitting around thinking this would finally legitimize our relationship,” said Allen Lieb, 59, who wed husband Bart Feller in the New York City Clerk’s Office in September. “But when it started to actually happen, we thought that it’s an important statement and it makes a big difference legally. It’s also a way to say thank you to the people who fought to make this happen.”

In Vermont and Iowa, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2009, a similar spike in marriage occurred after gays and lesbians became eligible for licenses.


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Photo credit: Made Underground (Creative Commons Attribution License)


Kellie N.
Kellie N6 years ago

How about we take the terms "wife" and "husband" out of marriage in general Ron S. since both terms do have societal "roles" attached to each that can trap gays and straights into unconscious boxes that can cause tension in any relationship. As you said "It denotes equality and does not imply particular "roles" for one or the other partner. " By this logic you say it's o.k. for same-sex married people to be equal to each other but it's not o.k. for straights in a "traditional" style of marriage. I don't see how that is very healthy for those unlucky, unequal "straights".

Ron Samuels
Ron Samuels6 years ago

Can we say "spouse" when referring to same-sex marriage, please? A "husband" requires a "wife" and vice versa. Spouse is a perfectly apt term for the parties to a same-sex marriage. It denotes equality and does not imply particular "roles" for one or the other partner. This should be a part of the style manual for every media organization. Maybe individuals will pick up on that and start using it, instead of men saying they "married their husbands" - which contributes to the discomfort of skeptics and is basically untrue anyhow.

Martin Austin
Past Member 6 years ago

great news

Alan G.
Alan G6 years ago

I wonder why all the people so opposed to gay marriage aren't also lobbying to make divorce illegal, Jesus actually condemned divorce... hypocrites.

Bruce S.
Bruce S6 years ago

"Same-Sex Couples Boost Marriage Numbers in New York"

Just what I wanted to hear. I hope they also INCREASE the amount of income tax collected.

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago


Jessica Wade
Jessica Wade6 years ago

I hate how people don't realize that racism and homophobia is practically the same thing.......But yet homophobia is acceptable in modern day society and racism is not.

John Mansky
John Mansky6 years ago

"No Comment"...

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

Gay marriage is saving marriage. There's a 90% divorce rate and climbing in my state. Marriage seems to be obsolete.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue6 years ago

setting one group of people against another no matter it's form race,creed,color,sex,sexual orientation, political party, nation of origin,... ,... ,..., etc. has been an effective tactic for hundreds of years.

This tactic allows the population to expend it's energies pursuing the herding instinct, so as to never look up, and never to see what is going on.

A very interesting documentary film of late was the movie "Thrive" ,and once one gets past perhaps the first 30 minutes of new age flavoring , it gets down to some well documented facts that tend to make it fairly clear why some would want to occupy our time jousting one against the other.