This article builds on earlier studies that have examined "the economic cost of homosexuality," by using data from the 2000 U.S. Census and by employing multilevel analyses. Our findings indicate that partnered gay men experience a 12.5 percent earnings penalty compared to married heterosexual men, and a statistically insignificant earnings penalty compared to partnered heterosexual men, when both individual- and state-level characteristics are taken into account. Partnered lesbians experience about a 3.5 percent earnings advantage compared to married heterosexual women, and a 9 percent earnings advantage compared to partnered heterosexual women. Although individual-level characteristics are the primary determinants of their earnings, we find that some contextual characteristics affect the earnings of partnered gay men and lesbians, relative to partnered heterosexuals, and that these effects vary by sex.


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