AZ, CA Highlight Queer Liberty

It’s a big day in America today! If you close your eyes and take a big whiff, you can smell the distinct scent of democratic action. It’s sweet, yes, but with a bit of…taint.

A new study from the Williams Institute in Arizona concludes that queer couples make less than their straight counterparts, especially when there are children involved.

“Gay men earn less than straight men,” said Adam Romero, a public-policy fellow who co-authored the study. “Even when you hold constant occupation, race, geography, they earn less and that’s something economists would call discrimination.”

“When you only look for households where children are present, same-sex couples do much, much worse,” he said.

Same-sex parents in Arizona have lower median household incomes, $39,000 a year compared with $54,000 for married couples.

Those numbers are pretty distressing, especially considering that all of the presidential candidates tout our nation’s commitment to equality.

Meanwhile, next door in California, seven judges will hear oral arguments for and against gay marriage. We missed author Nancy D. Polikoff’s Los Angeles Times op-ed on the matter yesterday, but she’s got some pertinent points, particularly for the civil union endorsing presidential hopefuls:

Separate is not equal; it is a mark of second-class status.

But the quest for marriage rights has obscured a more fundamental problem in the law. Marriage is a bright line dividing relationships that matter from those that don’t — and it shouldn’t be.

Marriage is no longer the only way people organize their families and relationships. State-recognized domestic partnerships aren’t a good legal dividing line either. Those just extend rights to a few more people without questioning why such couples have these legal rights in the first place.

The law should value the families and relationships that people value. So a better approach is to ask why a particular law exists and then include within the law all the relationships appropriate to that purpose.

We can’t even begin to predict California’s outcome, nor do we know whether the Williams Institute’s findings will bring any real change. We do know, however, that no matter how many people vote today, our democracy’s still got a long way to go.

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  • M Shane

    The fact that the couples are married is irrelivant as far as I can see. More likely the issue is one of Heterosexual’s children or not, make more.
    Clearly the most important part of this study is the relatively low incomes which have come to look normative in the U.S. These are survival wages. Compare those with the wages of the upper classes. The yearly wages of two people wouldn’t equal the daily take of an upper class person.
    These statistics have changed radicaly since 1970: when the division was not nearly as huge. and the median not nearly as low.

  • Paul Raposo

    Before I came out I watched gay men and women–or those perceived as such–get passed over for promotion, or opportunities. Big money is definately a straight boys club. David Geffen is the only gay billionaire I know of and that is not by accident. Birds of a feather flock together and as far as hets are concerned, when it comes to money and opportunities queers can just fuck off. You thought I was going to write flock, right 8^)

    Anywho, when I owned my own business and word got out that I had come out as gay, I watched my business dry up. Nothing had changed, except the knowledge of my sexuality

  • M Shane

    It’s certainly true Paul. I have lost several jobs due to being gay: If they can’t get you directly the will get you from the back . Th
    is new religious slimbagery has made it even worse. A klot of the big merchandizing corporations want to make it public that they hire gays to get business, but the glass roof is really low.

  • anonymuss

    There’s a logic behind this statistic.

    Most queer couples with children – are lesbians – and being women the women that they are, they earn wages typical for women. Women earn much less than men on average.

  • Charley

    Good point Anonymuss. Women’s wages are the problem.

  • M Shane

    If the couples in the study are women, likelihood is that at least one stays at home most of the time & they may take time for maternity. In any case, I’m not sure that the statistics indicate much of anything. There are too many variables which make the study inconclusive of any generalizations.
    It’s a very far far reach to determine that they indicate lower female incomes.

  • M Shane

    “Separate, ” but equal , is often concievable and necessary in determining poinyts of justice. I personally don’t want to confuse my relationship (if I had one) with a heterosexual one. That leads to all kinds of crazyness that exists in strtaight relationships.
    In jobs,e.g., there are separate but equal issues between men and women related to birthing.

Comments are closed.