Partnered Gay Men Earn Less Than Straight Counterparts Study Says

Fri. June 13, 2003 12:00 AM by

Washington, D.C. - Men in same-sex couples typically earn less than other American married men, according to a newly released Urban Institute analysis of Census 2000 data.

Yet, when the Institute looked just at states with laws that protect workers from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, it found that the income gap was closed or reduced. This was particularly true for men with lower education levels. It is currently legal to fire someone based solely on their
sexual orientation in 36 states.

The study was commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

"These data suggest that when the fear of job-related discrimination is lifted, gay men perform on par or better than other American men in the workplace. However, as gay men remain saddled with the very real threat of discrimination that exists under current laws, the economic harms caused to them are clear and present," said HRC Communications Director and Senior Strategist David M. Smith.

"This should be yet another wake up call to legislators about the importance of non-discrimination laws."

The new numbers also shatter the stereotype of gay affluence.

"The myth of gay wealth has often been used as a rationale for holding back on protections and equality under the tax code that gay couples, who cannot marry in this country, have no access to," said Smith.

"Clearly, that stereotype is not the reality, and there is a very real need for equity in the tax code and Social Security systems for gay couples,"

In contrast, coupled lesbians tend to earn more than other women. Differences in occupation and child rearing patterns might explain this finding, Smith said. Lesbians in same-sex relationships are also more than four times more likely to serve in the military than married women.

"These new numbers not only shine new light on the cruelty of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, but also underscore the absurdity of the military ban on gay service members," said Smith.

"Clearly, there are significant numbers of gay men and lesbians serving in the military -- it is unconscionable that they should have to serve under a gag order while risking their lives for their country."

This study is the most detailed look to date at the daily lives of gay and lesbian Americans. HRC cautions however, that this is only a first step, and focuses only on one segment on a diverse population of

by Paul Johnson Newscenter
Washington Bureau Chief
Posted: June 13, 2003 6:14 p.m. ET

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.