Opponents of same-sex marriage in one of America’s most populous states are confident they have gathered the more than 600,000 signatures needed to get a question on the November 2008 ballot calling for a ban on same-sex marriage.

Florida4Marriage.org, a coalition of groups, has been trying to get the question on the ballot for three years.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has released a new research study providing demographic and economic information for the almost 55,000 same-sex couples in Florida.

The study shows that 17% of the same-sex couples in Florida are raising more than 17,000 children.

Same-sex couples raising children have fewer economic resources and own homes at a significantly lower rate than their heterosexual, married counterparts.

In 2000, there were 41,048 same-sex couples living in Florida. By 2005, the number of same-sex couples increased to almost 55,000.

24% of same-sex couples are nonwhite, compared to 26% of married couples.

By 2005, there were almost 610,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual people (single and coupled) living in Florida, approximately the same number required to put the same-sex ban question on the 2008 ballot.

Despite the military’s historic policies of excluding gay men and lesbians from service, 14% of individuals in same-sex couples are veterans.

The median household income of same-sex couples with children is $43,000, (£21,630) or 23% lower than that of married parents ($55,500).

The average household income of same-sex couples with children is $51,486, significantly less than $71,391 for married parents.

While 49% of same-sex couples with children own a home, a much larger percentage of married parents (77%) own a home.

Individuals in same-sex couples in Florida are more likely to be employed than are married individuals: 76% of individuals in same-sex couples are employed, compared to 57% of married individuals.

Contrary to a popular stereotype, the annual earnings of men in same-sex couples are significantly lower than married men.

On average, men in same-sex couples in Florida earn $38,095 each year, significantly less than $46,680 for married men.

The median income of men in same-sex couples in Florida is $30,000, or 10% less than that of married men ($33,200).

Women in same-sex couples in Florida earn an average of $30,241 per year (with a median of $25,000), more than married women, whose earnings average $25,374 (with a median of $20,100).

Women in same-sex couples earn, on average, less than married men as well as men in same-sex couples in Florida.

Florida would become the 28th American state to ban marriage between people of the same sex with a constitutional amendment if the required 60% of voters back the measure next November.

The full report may be found on the UCLA website.