Thursday, September 18, 2008

Study sees more N.H. interest in gay marriage

New Hampshire Business Review

A newly released study finds that same-sex couples in New Hampshire are more eager to be married than enter into a civil union.

The report compiles data from the 11 states that recognize same-sex couples through marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships or other legal statuses. It also indicates that same-sex couples prefer marriage over non-marital alternatives.

According to the study, by UCLA’s Williams Institute, there are an estimated 4,345 same-sex couples in New Hampshire, where civil unions have been available since January. In the first six months that civil unions were available, only 422 same-sex couples registered for civil unions in New Hampshire, according to the study, which adds that researchers project that if marriage were opened to gay and lesbian partners in New Hampshire, 2,172 couples would marry in the first three years.

In Massachusetts, according to the study, 37 percent of gay and lesbian couples were married within the first year that marriage was available, but only one in 10 gay couples registered a civil union or domestic partnership in the first year after the introduction of those statuses.

“Marriage clearly gets the most enthusiastic response from same-sex couples, as we're seeing in California,” said M. V. Lee Badgett, research director of the Williams Institute and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. ”It may be that less New Hampshire couples are registering for civil unions because they are waiting for the state to extend marriage to same-sex couples.”

The study also shows that same-sex couples who marry or register are more likely to be female couples than male couples, and same-sex couples tend to be younger than existing different-sex married couples, she said.

This study , well as findings from the first study on the cost impact of differential taxation between domestic partner and spousal health benefits for both employers and employees, can be accessed at – JEFF FEINGOLD/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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