Friday, June 23, 2017

Gallup Does Mention One Thing....

This is an interesting bit of data, certainly, and I'm not here to minimize the effect of the HodgesObergefell decision (I've (jokingly) mentioned that I've known Jim was gay longer than he has, right? College friends from back in the day), or even really comment on that. As usual, I have this odd take on this bit of data (and one point that isn't mine at all)

LGBT marriage rates have increased, but not as much as you might think. Indeed, as the text of the article points out, it may have actually slowed a little after the big push last year when it all became legal.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued the Obergefell decision. As would be expected, the number of same-sex marriages has increased, though the rate of increase has slowed.
One thing I can't figure out is the two different numbers cited:

Two years after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that states could not prohibit same-sex marriages, 10.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse. That is up from 7.9% in the months prior to the Supreme Court decision in 2015, but only marginally higher than the 9.6% measured in the first year after the ruling.

But then says:

As a result of these shifts, Gallup estimates that 61% of same-sex, cohabiting couples in the U.S. are now married, up from 38% before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June 2015, and 49% one year ago. 

Anyway, here's someone else's point (Rush Limbaugh): not as many gay people want to get married as everyone seemed to think, so the issue was overblown in many ways. Yes, there were plenty of folks that wanted to get legally married, don't mistake the point, it's just that the storyline overstated that number, and therefore the reach of the "historic" decision was far smaller than the average ally thought. There is data to support that idea in this story:

An increasing percentage of LGBT adults now identify their marital status as single or never married. That has always been the dominant status among LGBT individuals, but has increased from 47.4% to 55.7% over the last two years.

Now, I immediately noticed a line in the data (my emphasis below) that I am impressed that Gallup chose to include:

 LGBT Americans are still more likely to be married to an opposite-sex spouse (13.1%) than a same-sex spouse (10.2%), but the gap is narrowing. According to prior research on LGBT identification, roughly half of those who self-identify as LGBT are bisexual, helping explaining the high proportion of LGBT individuals who are married to opposite-sex partners. Gallup's question does not probe specifically for whether LGBT individuals are lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender.

Interesting, eh?

With Gallup reporting that according to their research
Overall, 4.3% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, according to Gallup's latest estimate from its June 2016-June 2017 tracking data. That is up from 3.9% a year ago and 3.4% in Gallup's initial estimate in 2012. 
I find it interesting that it's still a tiny percentage of the population that was affected by this massive media story (although it's still a largish actual number: 2015 census says 247,773,709 adults, so that's like 10.6 million people), and the subset of that number that got married in light of the Supreme Court decision is pretty small. Let's do some math.

Using the 2015 number above, and that 4.3% percentage according to Gallup, there are approximately

  • 10,654,269 adult LGBT people in the US.
  • 841,687 married prior to HodgesObergefell (7.9%)
  • 1,086,735 married after two years (10.2%)
  • so 245,048 adults got married as a result, so far. (this is off by a little, as we are using 2015 numbers, I get that.)
That's .000989% of the adults in the US. 

That's a lot of hubbub for a very very small group. I have said that the US Constitution has been described as a document to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority (not my line, obviously), so this fits into that mold, I guess, but wow, what a lot of attention given to an issue that has a ridiculously tiny reach. Perspective, people.