Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are more likely to struggle with poverty, according to a new report, Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for being LGBT in America.
And the study points out what we already know: There is a clear connection between economic security and anti-LGBT laws.
The Michigan League for Public Policy recently became a partner to the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition, a partnership of business leaders representing companies large and small, associations and chambers of commerce who have come together around the goal of updating Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
These business leaders understand that everyone in Michigan, whatever race, gender, religion, physical characteristics, sexual orientation or gender identity deserves to be treated fairly and equally under the law.
While all LGBT Michiganians are affected by this lack of legal protection, those with children are particularly affected. Single LGBT adults with children are three times more likely to have incomes near the poverty line than their non-LGBT peers.
Married or partnered LGBT adults with children are two times more likely to have incomes near the poverty line than their non-LGBT peers. Living in a family with adults who could be fired at any moment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity makes these children very vulnerable to economic insecurity.
Updating Elliott-Larsen to include sexual orientation and gender identity isn’t just about improving economic security for LGBT people and families in our state, although that’s critically important. It’s also about Michigan’s economic recovery.
As noted by business and chamber leaders, Michigan’s continued economic growth relies on keeping and attracting talented, hardworking, determined people in our state, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s a win-win. Including sexual orientation and gender identity in the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act will boost economic security for many families and will help grow the economy in Michigan. What’s not to like about that?
– Karen Holcomb-Merrill