Thursday, October 12, 2006

Indiana Experiences 54% Increase In Same-Sex Couples

INDIANA AND OTHER MIDWESTERN STATES OUTPACE NATION ACCORDING TO NEW STUDY
An American Community Survey just released by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA School of Law provides some surprising demographic results for the gay and lesbian population across the U.S. and in Indiana. The study finds that as the debate over gay marriage heated up on the political front in recent years, the number of self-identified same-sex couples surged more than 30% from 2000-2005, from nearly 600,000 in 2000 to 777,000 in 2005. And, believe it or not, Indiana saw one of the highest increases in same sex-couples, growing by 54% from 10,219 in 2000 to 15,714 in 2005. That same study estimated that 169,700 gay, lesbian and bi-sexual persons live in Indiana, or 3.8% of the population. That matches Illinois’ percentage and is slightly less than Ohio’s 4% rate. The study estimated that 3.4% of the adults living in Michigan and Kentucky were gay, lesbian or bi-sexual.

What is fascinating about the ACS study is the dramatic growth it found in self-identified same-sex couples in the Midwest. All but two of the top ten states identified in the ACS study are in the Midwest. In addition to Indiana, the top ten includes Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio. Four of those states have enacted constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriages in recent years. Wisconsin has a constitutional ban on the ballot this year, and Indiana has a proposed amendment which could make the ballot as soon as 2008 if it is approved by the next General Assembly. Iowa and Minnesota have both adopted Defense of Marriage Acts, along with the other 6 Midwestern states in the top ten.

The dramatic growth in same-sex couples in the Midwestern states in the face of legislative efforts to discriminate against gays and lesbians suggests that the legislative efforts are having the opposite effect some think such laws are intended to have—to discourage gays and lesbians from entering into committed, same-sex relationships. This is bolstered by the fact that in 6 of the 8 states in which gay marriage ban initiatives are on the ballot, the increase in the number of same-sex couples outpaced the growth nationally. The study itself attributes the growth to acceptance. “Growth in the number of same-sex couples throughout the Midwest suggests that as acceptance of lesbian and gay couples reaches into America's Heartland, more couples are willing to identify themselves,” the study concluded.

The study’s findings could have a real electoral impact on future elections in the U.S. Not surprisingly, traditional battleground states in presidential elections rank in the top ten states with the largest gay and lesbian populations. That includes California, Florida, New York, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Those 8 states alone represent 224, or 42% of the total number of electoral votes. A presidential candidate winning those 8 states need only collect 46 more electoral votes to win the presidency.

What is particularly new about the ACS study is that it represents the first time GLBT demographic data has been available for each of the 435 congressional districts. Four of the top congressional districts for GLBT residents were in California. The nearest to Indiana is Illinois' 7th District, which includes Chicago’s far north side and Evanston. Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, New York City and Somerville, Massachusetts each had one district in the top 10.

If you guessed Indianapolis’ 7th District had the largest number of gays and lesbians, you guessed wrong. Surprisingly, the 5th District represented by Rep. Dan Burton (R) has the largest number of gays and lesbians, with 25,312 or 4.6% of the district’s adult population. He is perhaps Indiana's most anti-gay member of Congress. The 1st District represented by Rep. Pete Visclosky (D) places a close second with 23,416 gays and lesbians, or 4.6% of the district’s adult population. The 7th District represented by Rep. Julia Carson comes in third place with 20,289 gays and lesbians, or 4.5% of the district’s adult population. The Indiana congressional district with the least number of gays and lesbians is the 4th District, with 15,869, or 3.0% of the district’s adult population. The 4th District is represented by Rep. Steve Buyer (R).

The study also found that 26,712 gays and lesbians make their home in Indianapolis, which is 4.8% of the adult population. That number grows to 52,963, or 4.5% when you include the entire metropolitan area of Indianapolis. The study found there were 2,680 self-identified same-sex couples in the city, and 5,032 in the metropolitan area. The study finds there are significantly more male, same-sex couples than female, same-sex couples here and elsewhere in the U.S. I would observe that Rep. Carson's winning margin has typically been well below the 26,712 number of gays and lesbians living in the city according to the study's estimate. This demonstrates why, in a competitive district like the 7th District, the gay vote is so critical. This hasn't gone unnoticed by her Republican challenger, Eric Dickerson, who is the first Republican challenger Carson has faced who is actively campaigning for gay votes. If you would like to read the study in its entirety, you can click here.

20 comments:

lori said...

Interesting. Wouldn't it be great if we could get them all to contact their representatives. Jeez, how do you get these people to care enough to make their voices heard?

Anonymous said...

These numbers mirror a stuyd I did for a project this spring.

Whatever the numbers, thanks to Rep. Bauer, we're not likely to be relegated to 2nd class status.

Just a sad couple of days.

Wilson46201 said...

I must have missed Dickerson's statement about gay rights and marriage - where on his webpage can I find it? Or is it just something he doesnt talk about in GOP clubs and meetings but he whispers in private to some LGBT folk??

That campaign RV7 certainly was nowhere to be seen downtown during the big Pride celebrations, was it now?

Wilson46201 said...

as I recall, Virginia Blankenbaker in 1996 wasnt as awfully homophobic as the usual GOP candidates for Congress in Indianapolis ... the others actively went for the homophobe votes to try to defeat gay-friendly Congresslady Carson...

dave said...

Dickerson attended Indiana Black Pride. Carson did not attend.

Wilson46201 said...

She did attend the very first Black Pride the previous non-election year - where was Eric then?

Carson is always rated very highly by LGBT groups based on her many votes. Actions speak louder than words ...

Chris Douglas said...

Wilson, I'm going to object. You can go after Eric Dickerson on any issue you want to, but attacking him on questions regarding his positions on civil rights and the marriage amendment implies a hypocrisy that is not there. He's being very straightforward.

I just visited Julia's website and found no tabs to be working (might be my own browser...). Maybe you could supply a link to the page on her website where the information appears that you say Eric Dickerson is lacking.

And your statement about Virginia Blankenbaker is an understatement. Blankenbaker was a very progressive candidate defeated by a conservative in the Primary. She was more progressive not only than Republicans of that day, but more progressive even than most Democratic candidates and officeholders, on glbt issues. I think you could say the same about Dickerson.

Regarding the first Black Pride, Dickerson wasn't a candidate for office and probably wasn't even aware of the event.

Go after him on any legitimate topic you want; this particular approach just isn't going to hold water.

LafBlog said...

Wow-- Wilson-- while I usually support the candidates you do-- I wonder-- do you have a job? Your dogged defense of Julia in every moment-- while admirable-- becomes tiresome even to me. Isn't there anyone ELSE who might speak out for her? OR are you her lone gay supporter in Blogland?

Advance Indiana said...

I might add to Chris'comment that the first Black Pride event was held last year. This year's event was only its second.

Wilson46201 said...

Congresslady Julia Carson has a well-known, lengthy and documented record of voting and support of GLBT issues. Eric may say some things to some folk but it seems very sotto voce - it's damn difficult for a Republican like Dickerson to run on an openly gay-friendly platform.

Locally, Baron Hill is being whopped on TV by the Republicans for refusing to vote for their anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. Will they next hammer Dickerson?

Advance Indiana said...

People are a little bit more concerned Wilson about your leader, Pat Bauer, deciding the issue (gay marriage) wasn't worth the time so he would allow the constitutional amendment to be voted on if the Democrats take control of the House and sent to the voters in 2008.

patrick said...

Gee, the great Julia just seems to bug the R's for some reason. Can't we close ranks as GLBT citizens and be grateful to her for all she does for us and at the same time, be hopeful that Mr. Dickerson is true to his word? Is there enough politcal maturity in our community to agree to disagree about other matters without arguing about who is more more pro-gay than the other? Progress on our issues is progress on our issues whether it's an R, D, L or I. And, I'm pleased to be part of the 54% although I've been half of a couple for 20 some odd years now.
And, Chris is right about the wonderful VB!

kay said...

Chrs Douglas said, “I just visited Julia's website and found no tabs to be working (might be my own browser...).”

Douglas, I suspect it’s your browser. Try again at: http://www.juliacarson.org/
You’ll find Carson has solid stated positions on many issues important to both her CD 7 constituents as well as those outside her district.

And speaking of tabs not working, I just re-visited Dickerson’s site (http://www.ericdickersonforcongress.com) and found that 3 of his 13 tabs were not working. The pages not linking were:
Stand on the Issues
Newsroom
Events Calendar

As an Eric Dickerson supporter, can you tell me if I am correct in understanding that Dickerson’s position on the marriage amendment states that he will not support (vote for) any amendment to the US Constitution?

Wilson46201 said...

as I recall, George W Bush has stated he supports seven Constitutional Amendments ! Can we safely assume E.D. would also not vote for the Flag-Burning Amendment ?

patrick said...

My dear Republican friends, the following was posted on Andrew Sullivan's blog today. Take a look and please tell us what is happening to your party.

"It's early in the probe, but we may be looking at emerging evidence of a homosexual recruitment ring that operated on Capitol Hill," - Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media. The column is one of the most disgusting smear pieces yet to emerge from the bigoted swamp that is the Republican far right.

You'll need to go to Andrew's blog and click on the words Cliff Kincaid.

Chris Douglas said...

Kay, thanks.. I'm giving it another shot.

I believe generally no candidate for either the state legislature or Congress who supports an amendment banning our access to marriage and voiding our equal protection and our religious freedom can be supported, especially one who is running against a pro-glbt candidate. I would have remained silent if Eric Dickerson in any way supported that amendment, or expressed a willingness to vote for it, or hedged on a willingness to accomodate law to protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

To the contrary, he has said that he opposes all such amendments at both state and federal level and would support appropriate nondiscrimination legislation. (This opposition to amendment extends to flag burning, which amendment based on my conversation, he also opposes.)

Eric Dickerson is not being cagey. Those who observe that the National Republican Party is attacking Baron Hill for positions also taken by Eric Dickerson would be correct, and might finally understand why Eric Dickerson is getting no support from the National GOP.

In addition to other reasons I have listed before, Dickerson is getting no support from local conservative-dominated GOP because he supports current settled law on abortion (under which abortion is safe, legal, and limited) and because he is anti-amendment with regard to glbt issues.

In short, the local conservative GOP would be unhappy with Dickerson as a Congressmen based on his moderate views, hence the lack of GOP support.

Wilson46201 said...

Dickerson is not anti-abortion? He does have a weasely statement about it on his webpage: "As my final example I will take up arms for the unborn. I am Pro Choice and I choose life." He buries his "choice" word in between two rightwinger catch-phrases. If he is genuinely pro-choice and supports Roe vs Wade as settled law - good for him!

Of course, Dickerson told the media that he isnt getting help from the Marion County GOP because he didnt need it! Uh-huh.

He also said he isnt getting help from the national GOP because he wouldnt sign that pledge to vote for Hastert for Speaker. Very noble!

kay said...

Douglas, you’re most welcome, glad to help.

In my opinion, Eric Dickerson is most certainly being cagey with his position on the (lgbt/marriage) constitutional amendment issue. If not, ED would have definitely stated, ‘I will not vote for the same sex marriage amendment; instead, he has said that he opposes all (such) amendments at both state and federal level.

Now, should that ‘all such’ qualification hold, am I also assured that would include his lack of support for (federal) S.J. Res. 7 / H.J. Res. 37– an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women? An amendment with 17 Senate co-sponsors and 180 House cosponsors—including Rep. Carson and Kolbe. (http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/sponsors.htm)

Chris Douglas said...

Kay, don't know whether anyone here is still reading...

I would actually think that Dickerson might consider an equal rights amendment...

Dickerson I think was expressing his concern about amendments limiting the freedoms of the bill of rights, not expanding them... I didn't put that particular question to him... I hadn't thought of it myself.

But your question is thought-provoking. One of the principles of the First Republicans relates to amendments and the bill of rights... One prominent office holder reviewed those principles and expressed a concern... but he didn't spell it out. As I think about it, he had supported the ERA early in his career... I now think that may have been what he was referring to...

I think you're looking for conflict with Dickerson on this issue where there isn't any.

kay said...

Douglas,

My point with the two issues (Dickerson’s bravado on how “he can qualify anyone for a 50k car loan” and his mushy position statement on constitutional amendments) were meant to illustrate my opinion that Eric Dickerson has not prepared an effective campaign or himself to serve the best interests of CD 7 constituents.

Make of it what you must …