More than 80,000 Kentucky Couples at Risk from Anti-Gay Amendment on Marriage

November 01, 2004

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

20,000 men, women and children in same-sex couple families, 64,000 opposite-sex couples at risk from Kentucky anti-gay marriage amendment, study finds

Nearly 15,000 gay men and lesbians and nearly 4,000 children being raised by same-sex couple families in Kentucky will be denied access to family protections if the proposed state constitutional amendment banning marriage and other forms of partner recognition passes Tuesday, Nov. 2. An analysis of 2000 U.S. Census data by Gary Gates of the Urban Institute was provided to the No on the Amendment Campaign, the group fighting Kentucky's proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. Some 3,804 female same-sex couples and 3,310 male same-sex couples self-identified on the 2000 Census in Kentucky. They are raising 3,843 children age 17 or under. Twenty-four percent of the gay male couples and 35% of the lesbian couples are raising children.

The data indicate that 90% of the same-sex couples in Kentucky include two White partners, while 7% include one or two Black partners. Some 33% of the White same-sex couples are raising children 17 or under, as are 22% of the Black same-sex couples.

Kentucky's proposed state constitutional amendment goes beyond banning marriage and also threatens more limited forms of partner benefits, such as civil unions and domestic partner health insurance. An earlier study of Census data released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute found that many same-sex partners hold public sector jobs, which may offer domestic partner health insurance. Such benefits may be struck down if the anti-gay amendment passes tomorrow. This could mean an end to health insurance, inheritance rights, second parent adoption, and other legal protections for unmarried partners.

In addition to thousands of same-sex couples and their children, Gates found that there are 64,152 opposite-sex unmarried couples in Kentucky. Forty-six percent of these opposite-sex couples are raising children 17 and under. These families could also be threatened by the anti-marriage amendment, which reads, "A legal status identical to or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." Most domestic partner programs also offer benefits to heterosexual unmarried couples; such programs are also threatened by the Kentucky anti-gay marriage amendment. It is also possible that domestic violence prevention involving unmarried heterosexual couples may also be at risk if the amendment passes.

For more information on these data, contact Gary Gates at 202-257-6400, or Sarah Reece with the No on the Amendment campaign at 502-893-1330.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.