Press

Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Couple Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census

Date: 
November 01, 2005

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and National Latino/a Coalition for Justice release Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Couple Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Groundbreaking analysis of Census data finds more than 100,000 Hispanic same-sex couple households nationwide

Visit thetaskforce.org/hispanicstudy for a copy of the report

Click here for a Spanish version of this release

HOUSTON, Nov. 1 — A groundbreaking study released today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Latino/a Coalition for Justice finds there are more than 100,000 Hispanic same-sex couple households nationwide, and that same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic earn less and are less likely to own a home than white non-Hispanic same-sex couple households. The study also finds that roughly two-thirds of same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic are raising children, and that nearly half (44 percent) of the individuals in same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic report they are not U.S. citizens, compared to just 5 percent of individuals in white non-Hispanic same-sex couples.

For these reasons, the study finds that Hispanic same-sex couples have much to gain from the legal protections of marriage and nondiscrimination protections — and much to lose when states prohibit same-sex marriage and other forms of partner recognition. Several states with large Hispanic populations have anti-marriage constitutional amendments on the ballot during the coming year. Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Couple Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census is the first national study of Hispanic same-sex couple households identified in the 2000 U.S. Census. The 2000 Census is the largest dataset available on same-sex couples. It compares Hispanic same-sex couple households to white non-Hispanic same-sex couple households, Hispanic married opposite-sex couple households, Hispanic "inter-ethnic" same-sex couple households and Hispanic cohabiting opposite-sex couple households.

Similarities between Hispanic same-sex couple households and Hispanic married opposite-sex couple households detailed in the study include:

  • Individuals in Hispanic same-sex couples are nearly as likely as individuals in Hispanic married opposite-sex couples to report living in the same residence as five years earlier (39 percent vs. 48 percent), an indicator of relationship stability.

  • Hispanic same-sex couple households primarily speak Spanish at home at nearly the same rate as Hispanic married opposite-sex couple households (77 percent vs. 81 percent).

  • Hispanic same-sex couples are raising non-biological children at almost the same rate as Hispanic married opposite-sex couples (5 percent vs. 4 percent).

"Latina/o same-sex couples are no different than any other loving couple. We form families, both immediate and the extended form of 'familia,' just like many in the Latina/o community," said Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera of the National Latino/a Coalition for Justice.

"Many of the 1,138 federal benefits and protections of marriage are designed to help families save money, purchase a home and better provide for their children. This study shows that Hispanic same-sex couple families would not only benefit from the ability to marry, but also are disproportionately harmed by anti-same-sex marriage laws and constitutional amendments," said Jason Cianciotto, the study’s author and Policy Institute research director. "For example, the inability to marry prevents individuals from sponsoring a non-citizen same-sex partner for immigration purposes, which disproportionately threatens the stability of Hispanic same-sex couple families, many with children."

Additional critical findings include:

  • Same-sex couple households in which both partners are Hispanic earn over $25,000 less in median annual household income than white non-Hispanic same-sex couple households.

  • Male same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic are over three times more likely than white non-Hispanic male same-sex couples to be raising children (58 percent vs. 19 percent). Female same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic are over twice as likely as white non-Hispanic female same-sex couples to be raising children (66 percent vs. 32 percent).

  • Hispanic women in same-sex couples report military service at a disproportionately high rate despite the risk of losing their income and benefits because of the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual people serving openly. Hispanic women in same-sex couples report military service at six times the rate of Hispanic women married to men (6 percent vs. 1 percent), and at six times the rate of all women nationwide.

  • 72 percent of white non-Hispanic same-sex couple households report owning their own homes compared to just 43 percent of same-sex couple households in which both partners are Hispanic.

  • 44 percent of individuals in same-sex couples in which both partners are Hispanic report that they are not U.S. citizens, compared to just 5 percent of individuals in white non-Hispanic same-sex couples.

"This report underscores yet again the critical need for racial and economic justice in our nation. While all same-sex couple families face legal and economic discrimination, the study indicates it is much harder for Hispanic same-sex couples because they earn less, are raising more children, and must overcome much steeper immigration and language barriers," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The study, released at a press conference in Houston, featured Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman; Jason Cianciotto, research director of the Task Force Policy Institute and the study's author; Houston Controller Annise Parker; Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, National Latino/a Coalition for Justice, board member; and Sergio Sarmiento, Immigration Equality

The complete version of the report, Hispanic and Latino Same-Sex Couples in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census, is available at www.theTaskForce.org. A Spanish version of the report and press release is also available at the site.

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 National Latino/a Coalition for Justice fights to end discrimination in marriage. The coalition aims to achieve its goals by promoting comprehensive public education, organizing and media outreach, while working with decision makers and grassroots activists across the country.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.