How Many Gay Marriages?

The campaign for “marriage equality” rarely, if ever, considered how many homosexuals wanted to get hitched in the first place.

Despite 14 years of time since the Netherlands lead the way in legalizing gay marriage, not one nation outside the United States has even a 30% marriage rate among its adult (18 years or older) gay population. Furthermore, the actual rate of marriage among homosexuals in these nations could be less than 13 percent.


The campaign for “marriage equality” rarely, if ever, considered how many homosexuals wanted to get hitched in the first place.

The answer cannot be gleaned from strictly looking at the United States as a whole; the Supreme Court imposed nationwide same-sex marriage only this year. One must look to individual states, as well as to other nations to get better data.

Within the United States, Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004 and Vermont in 2009.

The Netherlands legalized gay marriage in 2001. Belgium did the same in 2004. Spain and Canada legalized it 2005.

In order to get meaningful information to answer this question we need to know approximately what percentage of adult populations identify as homosexual and what percent of that population married since the legalization.

Finding and comparing the number of adult homosexuals who get married relative to the adult homosexual population as a whole depends on a variety of factors. How does the data define the term “homosexual”? Do all nations use the same definitions? Is the data from official sources or studies even available? Are they all from the same year?

In light of the fact that key data is not available, we will be looking at the adult gay population and the number of gay marriages in the last recorded year for each location.

This is not an ironclad analysis. In fact, due to lack of data and the variety of definitions for the word “homosexual,” one could argue that no such ironclad study exists yet. The goal here is to create a microcosm of what we hope to be a fair presentation of the whole based off available data.

So what do we know?

Netherlands (2001)

A 2011 study of the Netherlands defined the term “homosexual” as someone who had sex with someone of the same-sex within a year prior to a 2001 psychological survey. Under this definition, homosexuals ages 18-64 comprised 4.2% of the population.

The World Bank pegs the total 2013 population at 16,804,432. However, we are only interested in the adult homosexual population (18 and older).

Finding the precise percentage of citizens over the age of 18 outside the United States is tricky. Most sources break the population down by Ages 0-14 years and 15-24 years, making it very difficult to discern how many are 18 or older.

At least 76.7%  of the United States population is 18 years or older. However, European nations typically have less children than the United States. Therefore, we will assume that 80% of their populations are 18 or older. We will assume the same of Canada.

Provided our assumption holds true, 13,443,546 (80%) of the Dutch population is 18 years or older.

This means there about 564,629 (4.2%) Dutch adult homosexuals.

According to the most recent stats from official Dutch data, there were 16,262 same sex marriages (32,524 partners) from 2001-2013 or as of 2013.

One must be at least 18 years old to be married in the Netherlands. This is also the “age of majority” or age of adulthood in the Netherlands.

This would mean that about 5.8% of adult homosexuals were married as of 2013. This is a 2.2% decrease from the 2011 study itself, which found that 8% of homosexuals were married.

Canada (2005)

The most recent marriage stats for Canada are from 2011, when a census found there were 64,575 same-sex couples, of whom 21,015 (3/10) were married.

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To get a quick guide and reference to census data, go here.

[Editor’s note: One or more original URLs (links) referenced in this article are no longer valid; those links have been removed.]