The same-sex marriage debate has focused heavily on Massachusetts, the first state to initiate legal marriages for same-sex couples. New Jersey appears to be the next battleground in this controversial debate. This research brief offers insights into the issues at stake in New Jersey's same-sex marriage debate, especially those related to children being raised by gay and lesbian couples. Findings from Census 2000 suggest that between 10,000 and 12,400 children are being raised by gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey. Many of the rights associated with marriage, like access to health insurance and social security survivor benefits, are designed to provide some economic protection for children. The data confirm that New Jersey's same-sex families with children are already at some economic disadvantage compared to their heterosexual counterparts. The lack of marriage rights could be exacerbating that situation.
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