The FINANCIAL -- SAN
FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON and NEW YORK - 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 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, according to Harris Interactive Inc.
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."
The U.S. Congress is 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.
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, according to Harris Interactive Inc.
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.