About one in six married same-sex couples’ state doesn’t recognize their marriage

Same-sex couplesThe number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has tripled in the last year, according to a new poll by the Williams Institute’s research director Gary Gates and Gallup’s editor in chief Frank Newport.

The new estimate suggests that 390,000 out of nearly 1 million same-sex couples are married. Estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey had the figure at 130,000.

While there’s no way to know exactly how many same-sex couples there are in the U.S., the research suggests about one in six married same-sex couples live in states that currently don’t recognize their marriage. Only 12 states do not offer marriage equality and do not recognize out of state marriages. Missouri recognizes marriages but on St. Louis and Kansas City perform them.

—  David Taffet

Study shows support growing for marriage equality, especially in marriage equality states

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Evan Wolfson

A new study by UCLA’s Williams Institute shows that fears that eliminating state bans on same-sex marriage will create a backlash against marriage equality and LGBT people are in accurate. In fact, the study indicates, getting rid of those bans usually accelerates acceptance of marriage equality.

Evan Wolfson, president of the national marriage equality advocacy organization Freedom to Marry, said the study “confirms that marriage wins are a self-fulfilling engine of support. Once  the freedom to marry comes to a state, people see families helped and no one hurt, and support surges.”

Wolfson added that the study results “solidly debunk opponents’ desperate efforts to conjure up the specter of an impending ‘backlash,’ and undersore the unfairness of depriving people in the remaining 13 states” — including Texas — “of the informed choice that the end to discrimination provides. Once the Supreme Court brings an end to the exclusion from marriage in the states still left out, we can expect support to grow rapidly there as well — a true win-win.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments April 28 in marriage equality cases from four states in the 6th Circuit — the only federal circuit appeals court to rule against marriage equality since the SCOTUS ruling in U.S. v Windsor in June 2013, in which the court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Supreme Court last fall refused to hear appeals of circuit court rulings in favor of marriage equality, creating an immediate jump in marriage equality states from 19 to more than 30.

The study shows that since 2004, public support for marriage equality has increased in every state in the U.S., with an average increase of 2.6 percent per year. Public support for marriage equality has increased more rapidly since 2012, jumping up to an average of about 6.2 percent per year. But in the last year, the most rapid rate of increase in support happened in states that already legally recognize same-sex marriage.

“Indeed, legal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples has been followed by more rapid increases in public support,” the study notes.

If current trends continue, by 2016 public support for marriage equality will be at least 40 percent in every state, with six states above 45 percent and the remaining states at between 50 percent and 85 percent in terms of support.

“America is ready for the freedom to marry,” Wolfson said. “The Supreme Court can now do the right thing, knowing that not only history, but the public today, will vindicate a ruling to end marriage discrimination leaving no state and no family behind.”

—  Tammye Nash

New reports show good signs for same sex couples

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An estimate of same sex couples according to the 2010 Census.

Three reports released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law are a boon to same-sex families.

According to Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates’ assessment of a new preliminary estimate from Gallup, the number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has more than doubled over the last year. The new figures suggest that, as of February 2015, there are now about 350,000 married same-sex couples in the country.

Estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey had the figure at 130,000.

“These new figures showing a surge in same-sex couples marrying across the country highlight the historic nature of the past year for LGBT individuals and their families,” said Gates, Williams’ Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director.

Additionally, two other reports by Gates show that same-sex couples, particularly married ones, are more likely to be raising adopted or foster children than their different-sex counterparts.

“The debates about marriage and same-sex couples have focused substantial attention on the idea that marriage is a great environment for raising children,” he said. “Same-sex couples seem to agree. Married same-sex couples are much more likely than their unmarried counterparts to have kids, particularly adopted and foster children.”

But the reports also found that same-sex couples with children have a lower median annual income than different-sex couples with kids but, like different-sex couples, married same-sex couples are more economically secure.

The reports analyze the 2013 American Community Survey, which for the first time explicitly identified both married and unmarried same-sex couples.

Findings from the two reports will be included in a friend-of-the-court brief that will be submitted on Friday to the Supreme Court of the United States as part of the same-sex marriage cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

—  James Russell

Study: LGBT community faces discrimination by law enforcement

A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law reports the LGBT community faces ongoing and pervasive discrimination and harassment by law enforcement.badge

LGBT people of color and transgender individuals are adversely impacted by discrimination and harassment.

Key findings from the Williams Institute report based on several national surveys include:

  • More than one-fifth (21 percent) of LGBT people who interacted with police reported encountering hostile attitudes from officers and 14 percent reported verbal assault by the police.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of the LGBT violence survivors who interacted with police reported that they had experienced police misconduct, including unjustified arrest, use of excessive force and entrapment.
  • Two-thirds of Latina transgender women in Los Angeles County who interacted with police reported that they were verbally harassed by law enforcement, 21 percent report that they were physically assaulted by law enforcement, and 24 percent report that they were sexually assaulted by law enforcement.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of transgender respondents in a national survey reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance, 22 percent reported that they had been harassed by law enforcement because of bias, and 6 percent reported having been physically assaulted by an officer.

Williams Institute researchers also documented widespread and frequent incidents of misconduct toward LGBT people by law enforcement in all regions of the country, including many instances of severe physical and sexual abuse.

Such discrimination, harassment and abuse undermine effective policing by weakening community trust, reducing reporting of crimes by victims in the LGBT community and challenging law enforcement’s ability to effectively meet the needs of members of their communities.

The study comes as President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing issued recommendations today (Tuesday, March 3), to build stronger and more collaborative relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Among the recommendations, numerous local law enforcement agencies should:

  • adopt and enforce policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression
  • implement training for officers to improve interactions with the LGBT population
  • improve data collection on misconduct by officers against LGBT people.

Among the Task Force members was former Dr. Cecil Alexander, the former federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at DFW Airport.

—  James Russell

Report: Lack of LGBT employment protection is a human rights violation

Williams-Institute-Logo copyThe lack of protections against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the U.S. constitutes human right violations, according to a report filed by the Williams Institute with the United Nations.

Based on social science research and legal analysis, the report suggests the United States is not complying with its international human rights commitments, particularly in the areas of employment, health, youth and violence against LGBT people.

The United Nations has recently begun a review of the human rights record of the United States. In its last review, the United States accepted recommendations to address discrimination against LGBT people in order to comply with international human rights standards. However, there is no federal law that protects LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.

—  David Taffet

STUDY: Texas among 10 states with lowest support for marriage equality

States and the District of Columbia ranked from lowest to highest support for marriage equality in 2012, right column, compared to 2004 numbers on the left.

States and the District of Columbia ranked from lowest to highest in support of marriage equality in 2012, right column, compared to 2004 numbers on the left.

A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that Texas is among the 10 states with the lowest level of support for marriage equality, at less than 35 percent.

Polls show Texas has gained support for marriage equality and civil unions steadily over the years, and the study shows a 9 percent jump in same-sex marriage approval in the past eight years in the Lone Star State. (A majority of Texas voters support some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples — either marriage or civil unions.)

Texas grew from 24 percent in favor of marriage equality in 2004 to 33 percent in 2012, according to the study. Only Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana had less support than Texas last year.

The study found that the country’s overall support for marriage quality had an average increase of 13.6 percent, with more than 50 percent of citizens in 12 states and the District of Columbia supporting it.

Based on the current trend, the study estimates that 20 states and the District of Columbia will support same-sex marriage at or more than 50 percent by the end of 2014.

—  Dallasvoice

Study: 3.5% in U.S. identify as LGBT

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One in 10 adults in Washington, D.C., identify as LGBT — the highest percentage in the U.S., according to the largest population-based survey ever to ask the question.

North Dakota recorded the lowest percentage of LGBT people, at 1.7 percent, according to the study by the Williams Institute at UCLA and Gallup.

Most states were within 2 percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5 percent, based on the survey of more than 206,000 adult Americans.

Texas, at 3.3 percent, was sandwiched between North Carolina and Louisiana at No. 32 on the list, based on surveys of 13,314 people in the Lone Star State. From the press release:

—  John Wright

Study finds Texas ENDA would protect more than 400,000 LGBT workers

State Rep. Mike Villarreal

If the Texas Legislature passes a bill to ban anti-LGBT employment discrimination in the upcoming session filed by state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, the law would protect more than 400,000 workers, a new study finds.

The Williams Institute, a prominent LGBT think tank at UCLA, estimated that 431,095 LGBT workers live in Texas, according to U.S. Census data.

Research found adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected categories would have a minimal impact on state agencies and the budget, estimating that the changes would result in 203 more complaints a year. The number of additional complaints came from applying the national average of 4.7 complaints alleging discrimination in the workplace for every 10,000 LGBT workers to Texas’ number of LGBT workers.

The institute focused on research from 2008 that found 37 percent of gay and lesbian respondents to a survey had experienced workplace harassment and 12 percent were fired because of their sexual orientation. A 2010 survey of transgender people revealed that 78 percent experienced mistreatment at work.

“Data from other states show that the LGBT population files discrimination complaints at a rate similar to other protected groups, such as, women and people of color filing on the basis of sex or race,” co-author Christy Mallory, Reid Rasmussen Fellow of Law & Policy, said in a release. “However, the absolute number of complaints we expect to see from LGBT people is very low, because the LGBT population is small compared to other protected populations.”

The cost of reviewing and investigating the complaints by administrators would be low, costing $267,500–$334,400 in the first year and $248,600–$310,800 each subsequent year.

“We expect that enforcing these additional complaints will only cost the state approximately $300,000 in the first year; and the expenses will drop in the following years,” said co-author M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Institute research director. “Although there is some administrative cost associated with enforcing these laws, they can also have positive effects on businesses and the state.”

 

—  Dallasvoice

LGBT vote a ‘key factor’ in Obama win

The LGBT vote was a key factor in President Barack Obama’s victory on Tuesday, according to an analysis by UCLA’s Williams Institute:

In a contest of razor-thin margins, the 4.5 million votes cast by the LGBT population was a critical component of the president’s winning coalition. …

“In this close election, data suggest that the overwhelming LGBT support for President Obama constitutes a key factor in his victory,” said Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar Gary J. Gates.

It’s an outcome that Gates predicted in a Gallup Special Report last month:

A new Gallup Report finds that 71% of LGBT Americans who are registered voters support President Obama for reelection, while 22% support Governor Mitt Romney. From June to September, non-LGBT registered voters preferred Romney to Obama by one percentage point, 47% to 46%. However, when LGBT voters are added to electorate, Obama moves slightly ahead of Romney (47% to 45%).  These findings suggest that the highly Democratic vote of the LGBT population could be enough to swing a very close election toward Obama.

—  John Wright

Al Franken asks public for help passing Student Non-Discrimination Act

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken, D – Minnesota, is asking the public for help passing S. 555, The Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prohibit discrimination against public school students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the provisions of S. 555 students who experienced discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or because of their association with LGBT people could bring a civil suit against the school officials or districts responsible for the discrimination. The bill currently has 34 co-sponsors (none from Texas) and its House companion (H.R. 998 by Rep. Jared Polis, D – Colorado) has 150 (with 7 Texan co-sponsors including Houston’s own Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green) . Both bills have been referred to committee but neither has received a hearing, a crucial step towards becoming law.

In the video requesting the public call their Senators (after the break) Franken points out that federal law already provides protection for school children harassed because of race, color, sex, religion, disability, and national origin, but that no protection exists for sexual orientation or gender identity.

The inclusion of “association” in S. 555 is particularly well thought out. According to the Williams Institute nearly 1 in 5 same-sex couples in the United States is raising children, in Harris County 18% of same-sex couples are.  As these children enter school it’s important that they be able to receive an education without harassment or bullying due to who their parents are.

Franken is asking people to call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and encourage their Senator’s to support the bill.

—  admin