Study of Census data shows Children with Same-Sex parents
would benefit from Gay Marriage
Amherst, MA-U.S. Census data shows that thousands
of same-sex couples in Massachusetts need the economic protections
of legal marriage, according to a study by a team of University
of Massachusetts economists. The study, published today
by the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies (IGLSS),
found that same-sex couples are raising more than 8,000
children in Massachusetts.
"Legal marriage provides many important
rights and responsibilities for couples, especially when
they are raising children," said co-author M. V. Lee
Badgett, associate professor of economics at the University
of Massachusetts Amherst and research director of IGLSS.
"One in four same-sex couples in Massachusetts is raising
a child, and those families are more economically vulnerable
than married couples."
The study found that same-sex couples with
children have 10% lower household incomes than married parents.
That financial inequality is widened because same-sex partners
do not have access to the private and public benefits of
The authors also found that 11% of same-sex
couples are interracial, compared with only 5% of married
couples. Individuals in same-sex couples were more likely
to be African American or Hispanic than married people,
"Same-sex couples live in every county
and contribute to our state's diversity in many ways,"
noted another co-author, Michael Ash. "Almost half
of people in same-sex couples have a bachelor's or graduate
degree, and most work in the private sector. Same-sex couples
are important contributors to our economy and communities."
Other research about same-sex couples shows
that they indirectly contribute to economic growth by signifying
a climate of tolerance.
"Businesspeople and policymakers should
worry that a referendum campaign to ban marriage for same-sex
couples in Massachusetts could create a climate of divisiveness
and intolerance. We've seen that happen during other states'
anti-gay referenda, and it could happen here, too,"
warns IGLSS Acting Executive Director Glenda Russell.
The report predicts that approximately 8500
same-sex couples who live in Massachusetts will marry over
the next few years. Some new spouses might become eligible
for health care benefits through their spouse's employer.
But the report also shows that the vast majority of Massachusetts
businesses will have no additional costs for covering new
spouses who will become eligible for health care benefits.
The other report co-authors are Nancy Folbre
and Lisa Saunders of the economics department at the University
of Massachusetts Amherst, and Randy Albelda from the department
of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
The Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic
Studies is a think tank based in Amherst, Massachusetts.
IGLSS provides policy-oriented research on issues of importance
to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.