191526 Economic conditions of same-sex couples: Will marriage matter?

Monday, October 27, 2008: 11:10 AM

Gary J. Gates, PhD, MDiv, BS , Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
Much research demonstrates the critical link between economic conditions and health. For example, access to insurance and health care can both be affected by economic factors like employment and income. This presentation will review research exploring the economic conditions of same-sex couples and their families and consider ways in which marriage and other forms of legal recognition might affect these conditions.

Key findings highlighted will include:

* Approximately 40% of gay men and more than half of lesbians are in a cohabiting partnership. Further, 10% of gay men and lesbians have a partner with whom they are not cohabiting.

* Female couples outnumber male couples among those who have sought legal recognition by 2-to-1.

* Partnered lesbians are more likely to have children than those without a partner. Gay men with partners are less likely to have children than those without a partner.

* Same-sex couples with children are at a significant economic disadvantage relative to different-sex married couples raising children. They have lower incomes and lower rates of home ownership.

* Individuals in same-sex couples are less likely than those in different-sex married couples to have employer-based health insurance.

* Unmarried couples that utilize domestic partner healthcare benefits pay an average of $1000 more per year than their married counterparts due to differential tax treatment.

* Education is not a strong predictor of which lesbian and gay couples choose to seek formal recognition through registered domestic partnership though higher income does predict registration for gay men.

Marriage equality or formal recognition could provide benefits associated with access to and taxation of health benefits, estate planning, and parental rights.

Learning Objectives:
Develop a thorough understanding of social science research on the economic conditions of same-sex couples and their families.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the author of numerous reports and papers on the demographics of the lesbian and gay population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.