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Monday, December 03, 2007

The number of same-sex civil unions in Connecticut plummets

Why have civil unions dropped almost in half from 2006 to 2007?

Is it because people are waiting for full marriage rights or is it because there really isn't that much demand for it?

I suspect the latter.

7 comments:

Gay Curmudgeon said...

This is hardly a new trend in states with domestic partnership and civil union laws that still fall woefully short of civil marriage. The lack of national recognition makes them less useful and desirable.

Most importantly, there is a case before the Connecticut State Supreme Court challenging the state's restriction of marriage to only opposite-sex couples. Arguments were heard in May and the court has yet to rule.

As a result many same-sex couples are waiting to see of they will be able to get equal recognition and rights for their relationship.

But then, you already knew that, didn't you?

Your suspicion that "there really isn't that much demand" for civil unions is at best wishful thinking and at worst deliberately obfuscatory.

In future, please include a citation or link to the source of your data so that people can verify the facts for themselves.

~GC

Nick said...

Hi Mr. Curmudgeon,

This story was all over the media today, but you are right; I should at least link to it lest anyone think i was making it up.

From today's Newsday:

"After civil unions for gay couples became legal in Connecticut on Oct. 1, 2005, there were 649 civil unions during the last three months of that year.

The state Department of Public Health said that in 2006 there were 729 civil unions. However, as of the end of October this year, just 372 civil unions were recorded in Connecticut."

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/connecticut/ny-bc-ct--civilunions1203dec03,0,1021147.story

I'm sure some are waiting to get married. But I also don't think there are as many homosexual couples who will get married as you think.

Anonymous said...

"I also don't think there are as many homosexual couples who will get married as you think."

Why does it matter how many want it? What's your "magic number" for when it becomes relevant how many want it?

Nick said...

I'm not saying it's relevant to anything; I'm just opining that there aren't really that many people who want it. I'm not aware of any polls, but I'm not sure homosexual couples are as monogamous as the popular press would have us to think.

Gay Curmudgeon said...

Your statement is entirely unfounded. It must be great to say anything you like and not be held accountable for it.

There are some significant reasons why it's hard to figure out how many same-sex couples there really are, but that isn’t an excuse for being ignorant of the data that does exist, especially when you are making erroneous claims about their existence.

Same-sex couples often can't identify themselves because in most cases there is no way for them to do so on government forms. Even the most recent census didn't have explicit options for same-sex couples to check. It requires checking at least two boxes for researchers to infer same-sex cohabitating couples and the choices were not made clear on the census form. It has resulted in under-reporting due to respondents not knowing how to be counted accurately.

Same-sex couples also don't choose to identify themselves because they are subject to verbal and physical harassment and violence in the communities where they live. When living in an environment that is hostile to them, same-sex couples avoid drawing attention to themselves.

Despite these and other problems, the number of same-sex couples appearing in the US Census data is increasing rapidly. In the 2000 census, there were 594,391 same-sex couples identifying themselves in the US. By 2005, this number had increased by 20% to 776,943. Based on this data, in 2005 there was an estimated 8.8 million same-sex attracted people (single and coupled) in the US.

Demographically, same-sex and opposite-sex couples are remarkably similar. 20% of same-sex couples are raising children under 18 years of age and both same-sex and opposite-sex couples with children under 18 in the home have an average of 2 children. Despite similar numbers of children in the home, same-sex couples have less financial resources to raise them than their opposite-sex married counterparts. The median household income for same-sex couples raising children is $46,200, 23% less than opposite-sex married couples whose median household income is $59,600.

With same-sex couple households at .57% of all households in 2005, Connecticut ranks 19th in the country. At 7386 same-sex couples, there are 1477 same-sex couples raising a total of 2659 children.

In the last three months of 2005, 8.8% of all reported same-sex couples in Connecticut entered into civil unions. In 2006, an additional 9.9% of same-sex couples in Connecticut entered into civil unions, and for 10 months up until the end of October 2007 another 5% of same-sex couples signed up for civil unions. I make that to be 23.7% of same-sex couples having entered into civil unions so far.

Considering the pent up demand demonstrated by the bow wave effect beginning in 2005 and finally waning in 2007, and the suppressive effect of the much publicized State Supreme Court challenge in CT offering the prospect of true marriage equality, almost a quarter of all same-sex couples in CT taking the plunge on a civil union seems pretty high to me.

That’s hardly a collapse in enthusiasm for having same-sex relationships recognized.

You can review the summary report from the Williams Institute here: http://www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/publications/USCensusSnapshot.pdf There is also a report from the Department of Public Health in Connecticut showing civil unions by town from October 1st 2005 to March 2007 here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2007/rpt/2007-R-0370.htm

~GC

Nick said...

I think this cuts both ways. If the numbers are as you say, why is it that less than 1/4 of same-sex couples have taken the plunge in two years of civil unions? Because the rest are waiting for full-blown marriage? And how much "gay bashing" goes on in Connecticut? Haven't we all heard by now that Hartford is one of the gayest cities in the US? And still less than 25% take advantage of this provision.

Gay Curmudgeon said...

Please see my full response on my blog at:
http://gaycurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2007/12/blessed-ignorance-in-connecticut.html

~GC