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Supporters watch as Gov. John Lynch, D-N. Eight years after New Hampshire became one of the early states to legalize same-sex marriage, the institution seems to be in something of a slump: The of same-sex marriages in the state has fallen by 50 percent sincedeclining in four out of the last five years.
Last year, same-sex weddings made up about 3 percent of all weddings in the state, whereas back in they made up 6. Vermont had seen a very similar decline, as has Massachusetts to an extent.
Lee Badgett, professor of economics at UMass-Amherst and a senior scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA, who has studied the issue, says the most likely explanation is an easing of pent-up demand along with a declining need for same-sex couples in other states to come here for weddings, spurred by changes in federal law that made marriage possible or more valuable. InNew Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, at a time when more than two dozen states had enacted laws or constitutional amendments against the practice and Congress had passed the Defense Of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of gay marriage.
New Hampshire followed Massachusetts, which was the first state to legalize the marriage back inand Vermont, which in became the first state to legalize it through legislation rather than a referendum. Not surprisingly, there was a surge of interest in the New Hampshire married sex in New Hampshire, both from couples who already had a civil union, which had been legal in New Hampshire for two years, and from those who had never had any legal ties.
The first full year of legalization, a whopping The following year,was almost as busy, with 9 percent of all marriages going to same-sex couples. Ins cooled off but they jumped again inprodded by the Supreme Court decision United States v. Windsorwhich declared the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and led to renewed interest in same-sex vows.
Since then, however, the of same-sex marriages in New Hampshire has fallen almost every year, declining from in to last year, even as the of opposite-sex marriages has stayed level, hovering right around 9, The only exception wasbut even then, s were virtually level, increasing by just nine from the year before.
Mary Bonauto, director of the Civil Rights Project for GLAD, a long-time advocacy group for gay rights, said in an response that the decline is a reflection of how gay marriage has become routine. Over in Vermont, the story is almost exactly the same. A full 16 percent of all marriages in that state were same-sex inthe first full year they were available, and after a bit of a decline, the U.
Supreme Court ruling in sent them back up to the same level. But since then, the s have fallen, sometimes sharply, from New Hampshire married sex to just last year, which was 4. Things are also similar in Massachusetts. The of same-sex marriages in the Bay State also declined after an initial burst, with a short-lived boost from the U. Supreme Court ruling, although the decline has not been as abrupt. The state has not compiled the data for or yet, but back inabout 5.
One question that arises, of course, is whether the decline in the of same-sex weddings in New Hampshire will continue. Possibly not. If same-sex and opposite-sex couples have the same level of interest in marrying, then it seems likely that the figures are roughly stable, since they seem to reflect the general population.
Estimating percentages of gay couples in any region is difficult, and is based on surveys and answers to Census questionnaires. It might be that the pressure to marry is greater for men and women living together because of historical norms, or it might be that the pressure to marry is greater for same-sex couples because their community has fought so hard for New Hampshire married sex right. There is, by the way, one interesting difference between Massachusetts and New Hampshire on this topic: Gender ratios. In Massachusetts, nearly half of same-sex marriages are between two men, whereas in New Hampshire, only one-third of them are.
In most years in Massachusetts, about 45 percent of the marriages involve two men but in New Hampshire, the percentage of male-male marriages has never been higher than 37 percent. This makes rural contexts safer and more inviting for women.
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Same-sex marriages have declined in N.H. and neighboring states