The news clips every time another judge orders a state to endorse same-sex marriage follow a familiar pattern: A happy duo lines up for a marriage license, hugs and kisses for the camera then says, “We’ve waited [fill in the blank] years for this.”
But after being imposed, mostly by judges, on a large portion of the United States, is same-sex marriage really in demand? Are there really multitudes of same-sex pairs lining up to buy a license?
Probably not, according to several analysts who admit that statistics for the movement remain iffy.
Statistics from NumberOf.net indicate there probably are about 60.3 million married couples in the U.S., or 120.6 million married Americans.
Meanwhile, a recent assessment by the Pew Research Center, which was filled with caveats, found a total of 71,165 same-sex marriages, only a fraction over one-tenth of 1 percent of the marriages.
That’s even though same-sex marriage is legal in 32 states and has been recognized in some states for as long as a decade.
The most recent significant legal decision, however, by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirmed the right of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The three-judge panel created disharmony among the federal appeals courts by upholding bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
Bryan Fischer, an American Family Association public policy analyst, says there are no solid numbers on same-sex marriage.
“But I know that the pattern has been that when same-sex marriage is legalized in a state, there is an initial flurry of same-sex weddings. But the pace soon tapers off since homosexual pairings are notoriously short-lived and transient and divorce is a messy business,” he told WND.
Fischer contends the homosexual-rights lobby “has pursued marriage primarily for societal approval of their lifestyle rather than for companionship and family interests.”
“Most homosexuals wind up figuring it’s best not to get married at all,” he said.
A 2013 U.S. Census Bureau report says there are 726,600 same-sex households in the country. California, New York and Florida have the largest numbers with 107,991, 54,515 and 47,973 respectively.
However, the Census Bureau report doesn’t determine whether or not the leaders of the “same-sex households” are cohabiting or legally married.
In the report of the Pew study, author Drew DeSilver wrote that accurate statistics were difficult to obtain, because “each state can decide how it collects and publishes marriage statistics.”
“We were able to obtain figures from eight of the nine states that currently permit same-sex marriage [at that time],” he said.
DeSilver said the figure could be higher because there are significant lags in most of the states’ data. Many states have yet to compile marriage statistics for 2012, and only a few have counts for any part of 2013.
He noted some states no longer require couples applying for marriage licenses to designate their genders. Often participants are “Party A” and “Party B,’ not bride and groom.
“In 2012, for instance, New York state’s preliminary marriage count (excluding New York City) was 50,899 opposite-sex couples, 2,865 same-sex couples, and 7,950 couples where the gender of at least one spouse was unknown. At least some of those unknown-gender couples likely are same-sex,” DeSilva wrote.
Another source, the 2011 Census Bureau Report, found 131,000 legally married same-sex couples nationwide.
Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford says there is a simple explanation for the difficulties in reporting the actual numbers.
“Same-sex marriage created massive chaos,” he said.
“There will continue to be legal chaos unless and until the Supreme Court returns the issue of marriage policy to the states, where it constitutionally belongs,” he said.
He pointed out the 6th Circuit ruled the issue already has been decided by the Supreme Court’s 1972 Baker decision.
“If stare decisis and precedent mean anything, as the left constantly bleats, then the Supreme Court has already settled the matter,” he said. “Clarity will only come when the federal government butts out altogether and allows each state to decide the definition of marriage for itself and decide for itself whether it will recognize sodomy-based marriages solemnized in other states.”
He believes the only solid solution is a federal marriage amendment.
“A federal amendment, of course, is the ultimate recognition of the state sovereignty since it requires ratification by 38 individual states,” Fischer said.
But he admits that’s not likely.
“Since that is politically unlikely at this point, if we do things constitutionally, we will have to be content with a patchwork arrangement with regard to marriage policy,” Fischer said.