It's a recent study based on pretty old stats, but I think it's interesting (and was obviously interesting enough for us to write about it):
Gays Earn Less Than Heterosexuals
By T.J. DEGROAT
©2000 My Internship
May 31, 2000
Men with unmarried partners of the same sex are better educated, but earn less money than their heterosexual counterparts, according to a study in this month’s issue of Demography, the journal of the Population Association of America.
Women with same-sex partners also are better educated, on average, but earn similar salaries to heterosexual women of the same age, the study found.
"An important point that is clearly articulated is that it illustrates the impact of anti-gay discrimination on income levels," David Smith, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national gay and lesbian political organization, told the Associated Press.
The report examined statistics from the 1990 U.S. Census, the first to allow people to identify that they live with same-sex partners. Additional statistics from 1992’s National Health and Social Life Survey and the annual General Social Survey were used.
Of men between 25 and 34 living with a male partner, 29 percent had graduated from college and 13 percent from graduate school. Only 13 percent of men with female partners had a college degree and 4 percent had a graduate degree.
The heterosexual men with college degrees earned an average of $29,162 a year compared with $28,618 for gay men. Heterosexual men with graduate degrees earned nearly $4,000 more than gay men, $36,072 to $32,465.
Thirty-two percent of men aged 35-44 with same-sex partners graduated from college, with 24 percent obtaining graduate degrees, but the numbers were just 13 percent and 7 percent, respectively, for males with a female partner.
The pay discrepancy continued, with men with same-sex partners and college degrees making $36,054 per year, compared with $38,629 for men with female partners.
Although the statistics are based on 10-year-old Census reports, some people in the gay community are heralding this study as proof that discrimination in the workplace remains a problem.
"I think the study bears out what we’ve been trying to say for years. The myth that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are somehow more affluent than other is just that, a myth," said David Elliot, communications director at the Washington, D.C.-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We hope it will show the reality of our lives."
Elliot was not concerned that the bulk of the study comes from old statistics, but said he will look for reports based on this year’s census survey.
The study shows that women do not face the same inequality in pay as men, though. Women aged 35-44 with college degrees and with a same-sex partner had mean earnings of $28,387, while those with a male partner earned $28,734. Heterosexual women with graduate degrees earned $34,295 annually and those with male partners earned $34,427.
"That came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it might show that as a group, lesbians have been able to achieve more," Elliot said.
Some say the larger number of lesbians with children could contribute to the higher salaries. Twenty-two percent of lesbian couples have children compared to just 5 percent of gay couples, which could place more pressure on women to find high-paying jobs.
Elliot said that could be the case. "It could be a factor, but I wouldn’t rest the whole thing on that," he said.