The Impact of Sexual Orientation Anti-Discrimination Policies on the Wages of Lesbians and Gay Men

Gary J. Gates, University of California, Los Angeles
Christopher Carpenter, University of California, Irvine
Marieka Klawitter, University of Washington

Increasing numbers of states and municipalities are enacting laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Little is known about how or if these laws impact the wages of lesbians and gay men. We use Census data on same-sex unmarried partners from 1990 and 2000 to explore wage differentials between men and women in same-sex couples compared to their uncoupled and different-sex coupled counterparts and assess the effects of sexual orientation anti-discrimination policies on observed differences. Preliminary findings suggest that men and women in same-sex couples receive a wage premium in states that have enacted such policies. The policies have no effect on the wages of other men and women except for those in different-sex unmarried partnerships. They receive a more modest premium than that observed among those in same-sex couples.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Inequality, Labor Force, Education, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Religion, Policy