We all know the stereotype of the typical gay man — uber-successful, well-dressed fellows strolling around P-town, Fire Island and other glamorous haute spots. This pervasive image is double-edged, though, because it fails to acknowledge that just like any other demographic, the population of both gays and lesbians includes those toiling below the poverty line as well as those prospering at the highest echelons.
What interests me most are couples, however. To get an accurate view of the state of gay household finances, I headed over to a new report from the U.S. Department of the Treasurythat provides a fairly accurate financial assessment of same-sex marrieds in the U.S.
I’m happy to announce that gay married men, making on average $176,000 per annum as a couple, clock in at 56 percent ahead of the income of our married straight counterparts. And really big winners of the income-earning contest are gay married couples with children who bring in a whopping $276,000 a year on average. (Of course, DINK — double income, no kids — gay couples lead the way in disposable income, of which, in my opinion, they’re disposing way too much and not saving enough, but that’s another story.)
Female couples aren’t doing too poorly either, bringing in a household average of $124,000, which puts them financially ahead of the average straight married couple, who earn a yearly $113,000. Of course, nothing justifies the egregious gender pay gap that we’ll also be exploring in more depth in the future.
So what gives? How do we explain the significant income disparities between married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples? The Treasury Department’s report offers some trenchant insights:
A large proportion of same-sex couples flock to major metropolitan areas — sophisticated seats of power and centers of media, culture, and consumerism — many of which are located on the coasts. These places tend to have higher cost of living but at the same time are the locus for jobs offering commensurate higher pay. Of course gay folks live everywhere but we are significantly better represented in what some would describe as more desirable cities that are, as it happens, the most gay-friendly as well. Would you rather live in Manhattan, L.A., Miami or San Francisco versus, say, the stomping grounds of Christian supremacist V.P.-elect Mike Pence in Indianapolis or homophobic Pat “The Great Discriminator” McCrory’s Raleigh, N.C.? (No offense to the good people of Charlotte and other towns who worked so diligently to enact LGBT rights ordinances.)
Tag: Gay Marriage
Although the Supreme Court last week ruled gay marriage bans unconstitutional, the Alabama Supreme Court on Monday effectively ordered probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses for 25 days. The state’s Supreme Court picked this amount of time because, technically, there is a 25-day period to file a petition to rehear the U.S. Supreme Court case.
However, regardless of any petition period, Alabama must follow the law as set by the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest in the land. For this reason, the Alabama court’s order is confusing.
Americans marked Gay Pride Day this year with an extra measure of gusto, turning out en masse at Sunday’s festivities in New York and other cities to celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.
Two days after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off the New York City celebration by officiating at the marriage of two men outside of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar that is considered the birthplace of the U.S. gay rights movement.
“I want you to know I’m a little nervous today – it’s my first marriage,” Cuomo joked before marrying a couple in front of a crowd of several dozen onlookers
It was a moment of stark contrasts the other day at the Dade County Courthouse: gay vs. straight, well-to-do vs. working class, secular humanists vs. evangelicals, gay lovers vs. homophobes.
What brought them together physically and separated them philosophically was gay marriage. More than 200 people — hard-core supporters and opponents of gay marriage — tried to jam into historic old Courtroom 6-1, where Judge Sarah Zabel was to hold a hearing. So many spectators they had to open an adjacent courtroom outfitted with a large TV. It was there that the anti-gay-marriage group, wearing Respect My Vote signs, broke into Amazing Grace. They were answered by the pro-gay-marriage group, which began chanting, “Marriage equality, marriage equality.” Police moved in to defuse the demonstration, but the passions on this issue will not soon be quelled.
The tide is running fast in favor of same-sex marriage. It has been since the Supreme Court last year struck down key provisions of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. The court said that all states, even those with gay-marriage bans, must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it’s legal. Since that ruling, some 23 courts have struck down state bans as unconstitutional.
The judges — of all political stripes and persuasions — have ruled the bans violate the Constitution’s equal-protection and due-process clauses. And those guarantees trump voter-approved bans.
In half a dozen states, the attorneys general chose not to defend the bans in court because they saw the handwriting on the wall (and the court orders) and concluded they’d lose. In Florida, Attorney General Pam Bondi sat on the sidelines for several months, but finally announced a few weeks before the Miami-Dade hearing that she would defend Florida’s ban. In her court filings, Bondi said that, “Disrupting Florida’s existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm.” She failed to say exactly what the harm would be because there would be none. Still, Bondi’s arguments got a big thumbs-up from groups such as the Christian Family Coalition of Miami, which praised Bondi for being “on the right side of history.”
But she’s not.
The battle to legalize same-sex marriage saw a historic victory this week when the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver became the first federal appeals court in the nation to declare that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to wed.
The decision, striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, extended a remarkable string of favorable federal court rulings; a similar ruling was issued on the same day by a Federal District Court in Indiana. The decision also provides a vehicle for the issue’s possible return to the Supreme Court next term.
“To claim that marriage, by definition, excludes certain couples is simply to insist that those couples may not marry because they have historically been denied the right to do so,” Judge Carlos Lucero, a Clinton appointee, wrote in a majority opinion in the Utah case, joined by Judge Jerome Holmes, a George W. Bush appointee. “One might just as easily have argued that interracial couples are by definition excluded from the institution of marriage.”
The opinion affirmed a lower court’s decision in December that resulted in more than 1,000 same-sex marriages in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay.
All in all, this has been a year of extraordinary progress on same-sex marriage. Almost exactly a year ago, the Supreme Court left standing a lower-court ruling overturning Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage; that case has given rise in recent weeks to two books and an HBO movie.
But the prime factor behind the explosion of lawsuits challenging state bans, as well as the many court rulings rejecting discrimination in both red and blue states, is United States v. Windsor — the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples. The 10th Circuit decision in the Utah case included many references to the Defense of Marriage Act ruling.
Utah’s attorney general, Sean Reyes, has said he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Decisions on same-sex marriage are expected in coming months from other federal appeals courts as well, with the soonest perhaps from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia.
Yet the Supreme Court need not — and should not — wait for every appeals court to act or for a conflict to emerge among different circuits to revisit the same-sex marriage question and provide a definitive ruling making marriage equality the law of the land.
WASHINGTON D.C. — After 17 days of legal limbo regarding same-sex marriages in the state of Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked new unions there until a federal appeals court can spend more time debating and addressing their legality, the Associated Press reported Monday morning.
According to the AP, more than 900 same-sex couples have been married in the state of Utah since December 20, when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriages violated the constitutional rights of its non-heterosexual citizens.
Days after striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, a federal judge on Monday denied a request by the state to halt gay weddings already under way there.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby’s ruling on the ban Friday made the conservative state—home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a leading opponent of gay marriage—the 18th in the country to allow same-sex weddings.
The Utah State Attorney General is now asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay while the state appeals the case, said Ryan Bruckman, a spokesman for the attorney general. “We thought a stay would be the best way to deal with the chaotic situation that has arisen from the ruling,” he said.
Couples continued to line up to wed in Salt Lake County on Monday, according to officials in the state’s most populous county, who said they had issued over 300 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since Friday’s ruling.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just a few hours after state lawmakers approved same-sex marriage in Illinois, Chicago wedding planner Lindsay Parrott started getting her first inquiries for summer weddings.
“I got an email at 11 p.m.,” she said. “Everybody is really excited to be able to do this.”
From the wedding industry to tourism, Illinois businesses are gearing up for June 1, the first day that same-sex marriage licenses can be issued under legislation approved by lawmakers on Tuesday. While legislators in favor and the state’s top elected officials have touted gay marriage as a matter of equality and civil rights, businesses hope the start of weddings will be a nice boost to the state’s economy too. But that start date — which falls on a Sunday — also is causing some logistical problems for the state’s county clerks who’ll be issuing marriage licenses.
Illinois is set to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage when Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill, which the Chicago Democrat said Wednesday he’ll do with a festive celebration this month. The measure says that starting June 1, all Illinois couples can go about the usual way of getting married: Head to the county clerk’s office, get a license and then have it officiated a day later by the government or religious official.
However, businesses and tourism officials say it means that Illinois can expand a niche business too. They cite a 2013 study by UCLA’s The Williams Institute that says allowing same-sex couples to marry in Illinois would generate up to $103 million in new spending in the first three years.
The Illinois Office of Tourism beefed up its website Wednesday to promote gay-friendly spots in Illinois. State travel director Jen Hoelzle said the site will soon include a list of places to get married once the bill is signed. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, which already promotes Chicago’s gay-friendly neighborhoods and events such as the city’s massive Pride Parade, expects more hotel and restaurant business.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday withdrew his challenge to legalized same-sex marriage in the state, after a court determined that the appeal is not likely to prevail.
The decision by Christie came as, in response to the court move, the state on Monday began to recognize same-sex marriages. Christie’s administration formally withdrew the appeal in a letter to the state Supreme Court.
“Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”