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

CHART: The 30 gayest cities in Texas (revised)

A while back we told you how the estimated number of same-sex couples in Texas had gone way down — not because they’re all getting divorced right under AG Greg Abbott’s nose, but due to issues with 2010 Census forms.

When the Census Bureau released its revised (or “preferred”) estimates from the biennial survey last month, the number of same-sex couples in Texas dropped by about 21,000 statewide, or more than 30 percent.

Until today, though, we didn’t fully know how the revised estimates would break down for cities and counties across the state. But thanks to UCLA’s Williams Institute, we now have those figures, too.

As you can see in the chart at right (click to enlarge), despite losing a total of more than 1,000 same-sex couples under the revised estimates, Dallas remains the city with the highest rate in Texas. And Travis County remains the county with the highest rate of hitched gays (Dallas County is No. 2).

You can check out the Williams’ Institutes full report on the revised statistics for Texas here, or view a press release after the jump.

So which city was the biggest loser for same-sex couples under the revised estimates? That would take some figuring, but it might just be Hutto, a small town east of Round Rock in Williamson County. Under the old estimates, Hutto was No. 7 in the state for most same-sex couples per 1,000 households. Under the new ones, it’s nowhere in the top 85. Oops.

—  John Wright

CHART: The 25 gayest large, mid-size and small cities in the U.S., according to the 2010 Census

Source: Williams Institute (click to enlarge)

With 2010 Census figures from the final five states released today, UCLA’s Williams Institute has now posted a nationwide snapshot of same-sex couples in the U.S.

And Dallas, with 15.01 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, ranks 13th on the list of cities with populations above 250,000. San Francisco is No. 1 at 33.41 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, and Austin is 15th with 14.42 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

No other Texas city — large, mid-size or small — cracked the top 25. But Texas as a whole is the 21st-gayest state, with 7.56 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. The District of Columbia is No. 1, with 19.29 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, followed by Vermont, Massachusetts, California and Oregon.

View the Williams Institute’s national snapshot here. And read today’s story from The New York Times about the gayest cities here.

—  John Wright

The 25 gayest cities in Texas

We’re still working to get in touch with demographer Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute, the guru of all things gay and Census, to go over those freshly released data on same-sex couples in Texas. Gates says via email that he’s been slammed with media calls all morning and will get back to us as soon as he can. In the meantime, he sent over another tidbit in the form of an Excel spreadsheet listing all cities in Texas ranked according to the rate of same-sex couples per 1,000 households. As we mentioned earlier, Dallas has the highest rate of same-sex couples in the state, followed by Galveston and Austin. The list, which we’ve posted below, contains some major surprises — with cities like Hutto and Jollyville appearing in the top 10, for example. And yes, this does go to show that we are everywhere, but also keep in mind that the cities are ranked according to rate per 1,000 households. So, while Houston has the highest total number of same-sex couples (8,290), it has a much larger population than Dallas and therefore a lower rate. Also, my headline is deliberately misleading because the Census doesn’t count single gays. And in case you’re wondering, the city with the lowest rate of same-sex couples in Texas is College Station, with 131 or 3.74 per 1,000 households. Stay tuned for more as soon as we’re able to talk to Gates.

Check out the top 25:

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Census figures show Dallas has highest percentage of same-sex couples in Texas

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Dallas has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any city in Texas, according to an analysis of 2010 Census figures by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law. Overall, same-sex couples account for 0.76 percent of households in Texas — or 67,413, the analysis shows. But in the city of Dallas, the rate is twice as high at 1.5 percent — for a total of 6,876 same-sex households. Galveston has the second-highest rate of same-sex households in the state at 1.47 percent, followed by Austin at 1.44 percent. Download the Williams Institute’s snapshot here, and stay tuned for more on the 2010 Census figures that were released this morning.

2. Almost three weeks after same-sex marriages began in New York, a solid majority of the state’s residents are comfortable with the new law, according to a poll released Wednesday. The poll found that 55 percent of New Yorkers back same-sex marriage, while 63 percent say they don’t want the law overturned. Forty-four percent said they are more likely to vote for a state senator who supported marriage equality, while only 30 percent are less likely to do so. Looks like the National Organization for Marriage is facing an uphill battle.

3. Despite widespread rioting and looting in the city this week, Manchester Pride will go on this weekend.

—  John Wright