Is the number of same-sex marriages vastly overstated?

Pew Research Center says it is possible. Other research seems to be bearing it out:

In new research presented at this month’s Population Association of America conference, bureau analysts reported that the 2010 census overcount of same-sex married couples may have been even worse than previously reported. When researchers matched census records for individual couples with Social Security files, 73% of same-sex married couples counted in the census turned out to be opposite-sex married couples in Social Security files. The analysts also looked at results from a separate census survey that asked the same question (the American Community Survey), and found that 57% of who marked themselves as same-sex married couples were actually opposite-sex married couples, according to Social Security files.


The 2012 American Community Survey estimated there are about 182,000 U.S. same-sex married couples compared with about 56 million opposite-sex married couples.

That's a pretty small percentage and, one might conclude from all the hubbub over same-sex marriage, practically nothing. Does that suggest that both sides are making too much of the issue?

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  • One might also conclude that current opposite-sex married couples have been doing this collectively for the last 70 or 80 years while same-sex couples were banned from getting married. So it does make a lot of sense there would be far more opposite-sex couples.

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