More than 250,000 Ohio Couples At Risk from Anti-Gay Amendment on Marriage

November 01, 2004

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

50,000 men, women and children in same-sex couple families, 210,000 opposite-sex couples at risk from Ohio anti-gay marriage amendment, study finds

Nearly 40,000 gay men and lesbians and more than 10,000 children being raised by same-sex couple families in Ohio 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 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. Some 9,671 female same-sex couples and 9,266 male same-sex couples self-identified on the 2000 Census in Ohio. They are raising 10,048 children age 17 or under. Twenty-two percent of the gay male couples and 34% of the lesbian couples are raising children.

The data indicate that 83% of the same-sex couples in Ohio include two White partners, while 12% include one or two Black partners, 4% at least one Hispanic partner, and 2% at least one person of another race. Some 32% of the White couples are raising children 17 or under, as are 43% of the Black couples and 49% of the Hispanic couples.

Ohio's proposed state constitutional amendment threatens more limited forms of partner benefits, such as civil unions and domestic partner health insurance. A study of Census data released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute in October 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 210,152 opposite-sex unmarried couples in Ohio. Forty-five percent of these couples are raising children 17 and under. These families could also be threatened by the anti-marriage amendment. Most domestic partner programs also offer benefits to heterosexual unmarried couples; such programs are also threatened by the Ohio anti-gay marriage amendment, which reads, "This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."

For more information on these data, contact Gary Gates at 202-257-6400, or the Task Force's Sean Cahill at 202-329-8146.


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.