Lesbian Dad

Myth-busting study released

The COLAGE News Blog passes on the news that the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law recently released a report showing that LGB Americans are more likely to be poor than their heterosexual counterparts.

The study, “Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community, “ [opens PDF file], was released last week, and reported on in national media including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.  Highlights include the following findings:

  • •  After comparing families with similar characteristics, gay and lesbian couple families are significantly more likely to be poor than are heterosexual married couple families; 
  • •  In general, lesbian couples have much higher poverty rates than either different-sex couples or gay male couples; 
  • •  African-Americans in same-sex couples have poverty rates that are significantly higher than black people in different-sex married couples; 
  • •  People in same-sex couples who live in rural areas have poverty rates that are twice as high as same-sex couples who live in large metropolitan areas; 
  • •  Employment discrimination, lack of access to marriage, and a greater likelihood of being uninsured exacerbate poverty among LGB people.
  • •  One in five children being raised by same-sex couples in the United States lives in poverty.

The thing about not having a male income in the family lowering the family’s income?  A lot of us lesbian gals coulda told any researcher that one.  But some other really important findings wouldn’t have been as obvious to me.  The whole picture painted by the report is very important, and one I hope that draws the attention of activists and politicians across various lines of political affiliation.

The report is described as the first of its kind, but local folks might remember that in October of 2007, Our Family Coalition released a report, “Our Families: Attributes of Bay Area LGBTQ Families,” that essentially came up with similar findings. (Here’s my LD post on its release.)  At least so it seems to me, on first gloss.  One glaringly obvious point is that equal access to the fiscal benefits of marriage would have a material impact on these families.

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