Study: Same-Sex Marriage Decision Affects Where People Want to Work
According to a new study by Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, roughly half of gay and lesbian workers would quit their jobs before moving to a state that did not recognize same-sex marriage.
It’s no surprise that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is having a social, health, and religious impact. It’s also affecting where people are willing to work and the jobs they’re willing to take.
According to a new survey [PDF], almost half of gay and lesbian adults would consider changing jobs if they were required by their employer to move to another state that did not recognize same-sex marriage. This is up from 30 percent last year.
That finding comes several months after the Supreme Court ruled Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal and affording married same-sex couples in those states the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples.
Commissioned by Out and Equal Workplace Advocates—a nonprofit organization working to create safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people—the survey also found that 60 percent of gay and lesbian respondents reported they would turn down a job promotion if it meant moving to a state that did not recognize same-sex marriage.
“With the end of DOMA and our recovering economy, major corporations and employers that operate in states that don’t yet recognize same-sex marriage will find it tougher to recruit and keep the best LGBT talent,” Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out and Equal, said in a statement.
The survey also found that roughly half of gay and lesbian workers are already “out” at work, and of those who are not, about 30 percent said they would be comfortable being open if there were a federal law providing protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Creating greater acceptance of gender expression in the workplace is the mission of the recently launched Association of Transgender Professionals, which provides professional development and networking opportunities for transgender individuals as well as serves as a national advocate for the community.
“Our belief is that in the setting of the workplace it should not matter why or how an employee expresses their gender,” said Denise Norris, ATP’s founding director. “What ultimately matters is that the employee can fulfill the duties of the job for which they were hired.”