Press

Study of Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in Florida Reveals High Parenting Rates, Disadvantage in Income and Home Owners

Date: 
March 03, 2005

Hispanic and Latino Couples have Most at Stake in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate, Census Analysis Shows

STUDY WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 4:30 P.M. E.S.T. TODAY, MARCH 3, 2005 AT http://www.thetaskforce.org/latinostudy

"Hispanic and Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are an integral part of Florida's Hispanic and Latino communities. This study shows how our families are significantly impacted by anti-gay policies like the proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage," said Herb Sosa, Director, Unity Coalition/Coalición Unida of Florida.

MIAMI, March 3 — A groundbreaking study released today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute shows that same-sex households in Florida in which both partners are Hispanic/Latino earn less, are less likely to own a home, and are 13 times more likely to include a partner who is foreign born and not a U.S. citizen than white non-Hispanic/Latino same-sex households. The study also shows that Florida Hispanic/Latino same-sex households are raising nonbiological (foster and adopted) children at a rate that is similar to Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex couples. For all these reasons, Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples have more to gain from the legal protections of marriage, and more to lose if the state passes the proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage and other forms of partner recognition.

Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in Florida: a Report from the 2000 Census is the first study to analyze the demographics captured by the 2000 U.S. Census about Hispanic/Latino same-sex households. The 2000 Census is the largest random sample dataset available on same-sex couples.

The study analyzes Census data on age, immigration status, language, disability, income, employment, home ownership, residential patterns, family structure, military service, and educational attainment for Hispanic/Latino same-sex households. It compares Hispanic/Latino same-sex households to white non-Hispanic/Latino same-sex households, Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex households, Hispanic/Latino inter-ethnic same-sex households, and Hispanic/Latino opposite-sex cohabiting households.

"This study reveals significant similarities between Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples and Hispanic-Latino married opposite-sex couples in core areas like parenting, residency patterns, and home ownership. It also reveals new, critical findings about the individuals and couples in Hispanic/Latino same-sex households on issues such as participation in the military, immigration, and economic disadvantage," said Luis Lopez, co-author of the study.

Key similarities between Hispanic/Latino same-sex and Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex households include:

  • Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples in Florida are raising nonbiological children at almost the same rate as Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex couples (3% vs. 4%).
  • Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples are almost as likely as Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex couples to report living in the same residence as five years earlier (38% vs. 46%), a key indicator of relationship stability.
  • Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples are nearly as likely as Hispanic/Latino married opposite-sex couples to report owning their home (60% vs. 65%).

Additional, critical findings include:

  • Hispanic/Latino same-sex households in which both partners are Hispanic/Latino earn over $20,000 less in median annual household income than white non-Hispanic/Latino same-sex households.
  • Seventy-six percent of white non-Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples report owning their own homes, compared to 66% of Hispanic/Latino female same-sex couples, and just 54% of Hispanic/Latino male same-sex couples.
  • Half of same-sex households in which both partners are Hispanic/Latino report at least one partner who was born outside the United States and is not a U.S. citizen (51%).
  • Hispanic/Latina women in same-sex households report veteran status at nearly six times the rate of Hispanic/Latina women married to a man (6% vs. 1%). This finding is significant given that Hispanic/Latina women are discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at rates far exceeding their representation among servicemembers.

"Perhaps one of the most important findings of this study," according to co-author Jason Cianciotto, "is simply that it uses reliable data from the American government to prove that thousands of Hispanic/Latino same-sex couples in Florida exist. These families — many with children — own homes, work in the public and private sector, and live in both urban and suburban communities throughout the state. Anti-gay organizations in Florida continually fail to provide a shred of credible evidence that these families somehow threaten the institution of marriage. Given the findings of this study, political and religious leaders in Florida should support the inclusion of same-sex families in policies designed to promote commitment, stability, and the protection and well-being of children."

"This study demonstrates why Hispanics must be at the forefront of supporting gay marriage. Not supporting same sex marriage hurts our own community disproportionately. It is time to embrace all members of our community and provide them the stability and security that marriage affords." Heddy Peña, Executive Director SAVE Dade.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute is a think tank dedicated to research, policy analysis, and strategy development to advance greater understanding and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

The study was released today in Miami Beach at the Coral Rock House (Hispanic Community Center). Speakers at the press conference included members of the Miami lesbian and gay community, including Herb Sosa (Director, Unity Coalition of Florida/Coalición de Florida), Heddy Peña (Executive Director, SAVE Dade), Stratton Pollitzer (Regional Organizer, Equality Florida), and Maria and Stephanie Woolley-Larrea and their children (a Miami family, spokespersons). In addition, Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, introduced the program and co-authors of the study, Luis Lopez and Jason Cianciotto, presented findings and responded to inquiries about Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in Florida: A Report from the 2000 Census.

The complete version of the report, Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Households in Florida: A Report from the 2000 Census, will be available online at 4:30 p.m. E.S.T. at http://www.thetaskforce.org/latinostudy, and no longer embargoed.

Click here to see a translated version of this release

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Founded in 1973, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force was the first national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization and remains the movement's leading voice for freedom, justice, and equality. We work to build the grassroots political strength of our community by training state and local activists and leaders and organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation. Our Policy Institute, the community's premiere think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a world that respects and makes visible the diversity of human expression and identity where all people may fully participate in society. Headquartered in Washington, DC, we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Cambridge.