Post-DOMA, Significantly More Lesbian and Gay Adults Wish to Avoid Jobs in States where Marriage Equality is Absent Two-Thirds of All U.S. Adults Say Marriage Equality is Inevitable for America

SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In June, the Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional thereby allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in the current states where it is legal. This sea change in the recognition of same-sex marriages has led to significant new changes in public attitudes with strong implications for the American economy and workplaces. In a new Harris Poll released today and commissioned by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, nearly half (49%) of gay and lesbian adults would consider changing jobs if their employer required them to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized, compared to just 30 percent last year.

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The new survey also reveals that two-thirds (67%) of all Americans today, regardless of their feelings of approval or disapproval, believe that marriage equality is "inevitable everywhere in the U.S."

"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," said Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founding Executive Director. "Same-sex marriage recognition by the federal government is an historic breakthrough. It's now time to renew our efforts to pass a federal employment nondiscrimination law that is truly inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity."

The U.S. Congress is today considering passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that would provide protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. If this legislation were enacted, the new poll reveals that at least one-third (34%) of LGBT adults who are not yet open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at work would become comfortable "coming out" at work. Regrettably the survey also reveals a need for greater education on the issue since nearly eight of ten (76%) adults wrongly think it is currently illegal, under federal law, for an employer to fire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The annual 2013 Out & Equal Workplace Survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive® in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,577 U.S. adults, of whom 2,150 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (which includes an over-sample of gay and lesbian adults). Begun in 2002, this survey has become a trusted annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBT issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind.

When it comes to career advancement, the new survey reveals a clear majority (60%) of gay and lesbian adults also would consider declining a job promotion if it required them to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized, compared to only a third (33%) when asked last year. Also, eight out of ten (79%) gay and lesbian adults, other factors being equal, would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sex marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages, compared to 68 percent in 2012.

Past polls show that non-LGBT allies are dedicated partners in the fight for workplace equality, and according to the new survey they are growing in number. More than a third (35%) of heterosexual adults consider themselves to be an ally of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, compared to a quarter (27%) who declared so two years ago. Also, more than one out of four (28%) heterosexual adults say they keep informed about issues of importance to the LGBT community, compared to just a fifth (19%) in 2011.

Transgender Americans remain especially at risk for workplace discrimination, yet increased visibility can lead to more respect and acceptance. Nearly 8 out of 10 (77%) heterosexual adults agree that how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether or not they are transgender, compared to 67 percent of heterosexual adults tested in 2007.

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit will open on Monday, October 28, and close on Thursday, October 31, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nearly 2,500 attendees are expected from more than 30 countries. LGBT employees and straight allies, along with human resources and diversity professionals, representing a broad cross-section of the nation's leading companies—a majority from the Fortune 500—are set to participate in this year's Summit, focused on achieving workplace equality.

For more information about the Summit or to register, please visit www.outandequal.org.

TABLE 1

ALLY BEHAVIOR SUPPORTING LGBT

Please say how often, if at all, the following behaviors are true for you?




Summary of Strongly/Somewhat Agree

Base: All adults




LGBT

Gay/

Lesbian

I would consider changing jobs if my employer required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.



2013

29%

49%

2012

20%

30%


LGBT

Gay/

Lesbian

I would consider declining a job promotion if it required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.



2013

33%

60%

2012

22%

32%


LGBT

Gay/

Lesbian

Other factors being equal, I would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sex marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.



2013

65%

79%

2012

51%

68%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 2A

COMFORT LEVEL WITH "COMING OUT" AT WORK


If you are not open about your sexual orientation or gender identity at work, how comfortable would you become "coming out" at work if a federal law was enacted called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that provided protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity?


Base: All LGBT adults


Total

LGBT

Gay/

Lesbian

Gay

 

Lesbian

 






COMFORTABLE (NET)

34%

27%

37%

11%

Very comfortable

19%

15%

21%

6%

Somewhat comfortable

15%

12%

17%

5%

UNCOMFORTABLE (NET)

25%

14%

14%

15%

Somewhat uncomfortable

10%

4%

4%

4%

Very uncomfortable

15%

11%

10%

11%

I'm already "out" at work

21%

47%

41%

56%

Not applicable

21%

12%

7%

19%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 2B

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICIES – SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Currently under federal law do you think it is legal or illegal for an employer to fire someone because they are gay, lesbian or transgender?


Base: All adults


Total

Total

LGBT

Gay/

Lesbian

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual

Hetero-

sexual









It is illegal

76%

67%

59%

59%

60%

70%

77%

It is legal

9%

21%

36%

35%

38%

15%

8%

Not at all sure

15%

13%

4%

6%

2%

16%

15%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 3A

ALLY OF LGBT

Do you consider yourself to be an ally of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people?


Summary of Yes

Base: All adults


LGBT

Heterosexual




2013

88%

35%

2012

85%

28%

2011

83%

27%

 

TABLE 3B

ALLY BEHAVIOR SUPPORTING LGBT

Please say how often, if at all, the following behaviors are true for you?


Summary of Always/Sometimes

Base: All adults


Total

LGBT

Gay/
Lesbian

Heterosexual

I keep informed about issues of importance to the LGBT community





2013

32%

73%

80%

28%

2012

23%

71%

82%

19%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 4

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICIES – TREATED FAIRLY IN WORKPLACE

Transgender is a broad term that applies to people who live all or much of their lives expressing a different gender from their sex at birth. In other words, transgender people simply feel like their assigned sex at birth fails to reflect their true gender. Or said another way, a person that is born female feels that they really should have been born a male and wishes to live openly as a man (or vice versa). How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?


Summary of Always/Sometimes


Base: All adults


LGBT

Heterosexual

How an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether or not they are transgender.



2013

88%

76%

2011

92%

74%

2010

91%

73%

2009

88%

77%

2008

84%

71%

2007

81%

67%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

TABLE 5

INEVITABILITY OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN AMERICA

How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

Same-sex marriage is inevitable everywhere in the United States.


Base: All adults


Total

LGBT

Gay/
Lesbian

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual

Hetero-
sexual


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

AGREE (NET)

67%

84%

90%

93%

84%

83%

66%

Strongly agree

34%

58%

70%

67%

74%

57%

32%

Somewhat agree

34%

26%

20%

26%

10%

27%

35%

DISAGREE (NET)

25%

13%

7%

7%

7%

13%

26%

Somewhat disagree

11%

7%

6%

6%

7%

7%

11%

Strongly disagree

14%

5%

1%

1%

<1%

6%

15%

Decline to answer

8%

4%

3%

-

9%

4%

8%

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

 

Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the study online within the United States between September 18 and 24, 2013, among 2,577 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 2,150 indicated they are heterosexual and 371 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (including an over-sample of lesbian and gay adults).  Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, based in San Francisco, is the leading global nonprofit organization devoted to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) workplace equality and inclusion. Our vision is a world where employees are evaluated on their performance, not their sexual orientation or gender identity, expression or characteristics.

Founded by Selisse Berry in 1996, Out & Equal's services have quickly expanded to meet the needs of employers and employees in creating safe and equitable work environments. The hallmark Out & Equal Workplace Summit, first held in 1999, has grown to become the largest annual LGBT workplace conference in the world, attracting 3,000 attendees and support from over 200 Fortune 1,000 companies. The 2013 Out & Equal Workplace Summit takes place in Minneapolis October 28 - 31.

Today, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates continues educating and empowering its constituents through training and events. Its services include LGBTCareerLink, the world's only LGBT job bank; the world's largest LGBT employee resource group registry; and a network of 17 regional affiliates across the U.S.

In 2013, Out & Equal published Out & Equal at Work – From Closet to Corner Office, a groundbreaking anthology of 37 inspirational personal stories that chart the evolution of workplace equality.

For more information go to www.outandequal.org.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

About Witeck Communications, Inc.

Witeck Communications, Inc. (www.witeck.com) is a leading strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in outreach, respect and inclusion for diverse LGBT communities.  With nearly two decades experience in this arena, Witeck Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.

In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market.  His book, co-authored with Wesley Combs, "Business Inside Out:  Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers" was published in the fall of 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. He has appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Press Contacts:

Teddy Basham-Witherington, Chief Marketing Officer         
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
415-694-6516    
TWitherington@OutandEqual.org

Bob Witeck
Witeck Communications
202-887-8208
info@witeck.com

Harris Interactive, Inc.
Corporate Communications
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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