Thursday, December 02, 2010

Twenty Eight Percent

Andrew Koppelman

With Illinois’s passage of the civil unions bill, more than a quarter of the population of the United States – to be precise, a bit over 28% - now lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or its functional equivalent. It is only a bit over a decade since the Vermont Supreme Court ruled on December 20, 1999 that same-sex couples have the right to all the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses. The same-sex marriage movement continues to be one of the most rapidly successful movements in American history.

Here’s the math:

Jurisdictions that allow same-sex marriage include Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. D.C. CODE ANN. § 46-401(a) (LexisNexis Supp. 2010); N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 457:1-a (LexisNexis Supp. 2009); VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 15, § 8 (Supp. 2009); Kerrigan v. Comm’r of Pub. Health, 957 A.2d 407, 481 (Conn. 2008); Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862, 907 (Iowa 2009); Goodridge v. Dep’t of Pub. Health, 798 N.E.2d 941, 1004–05 (Mass. 2003). Jurisdictions that provide for civil unions or domestic partnerships include California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. CAL. FAM. CODE §§ 297–299.6 (West 2004 & Supp. 2010) (domestic partnership); the as-yet-uncodified Illinois civil unions statute; NEV. REV. STAT. §§ 122A.010–.510 (2009) (domestic partnership); N.J. STAT. ANN. §§ 26:8A-1 to -13 (West 2007 & Supp. 2009) (domestic partnership for same-sex or opposite-sex couples age sixty-two or older); N.J. STAT. ANN. §§ 37:1-28 to -36 (West Supp. 2009) (civil union); OR. REV. STAT. ANN. § 106.990 n.6 (West Supp. 2009) (domestic partnership); WASH. REV. CODE ANN. §§ 26.60.10–.901 (West Supp. 2010) (domestic partnership). California is an odd hybrid case, because it does not now issue marriage licenses, but did for a time, and those licenses remain valid. Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48, 119-122 (Calif. 2009). A federal district court has held California must recognize same-sex marriage, but stayed its decision pending appeal. Perry v. Schwarzennegger, No. C-09-2292-VRW, slip op. at 135 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 5, 2010); stay granted, 2010 WL 3212786 (9th Cir. Aug. 16, 2010).

The numbers are based on United States Census population figures for 2009: United States, 307,006,550; California, 36,961,664; Connecticut, 3,518,288; District of Columbia, 599,657; Illinois, 12,910,409; Iowa, 3,007,856; Massachusetts, 6,593,587; Nevada, 2,643,085; New Hampshire, 1,324,575; New Jersey, 8,707,739; Oregon, 3,825,657; Washington, 6,664,195; Vermont, 621,760. U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, 2009 POPULATION ESTIMATES, (last visited Dec. 1, 2010). The eleven jurisdictions combined add up to 87,378,472, or 28.46% of the United States population.

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