Research regarding the socioeconomic status of gays and lesbians as a minority suggests that working gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are no better off and in some ways are disadvantaged economically in relation to comparable heterosexual people (Klawitter and Flatt, 1998; Badgett, 2000; Anastas, 2001; Cahill & Jones, 2002). Data suggests gay males appear to earn less than comparable heterosexual males; some research has found specific examples of such disparity in females as well (Klawitter and Flatt, 1998; Badgett, 2000). Because of overall wage discrimination females experience, lesbian couples have an overall decreased combined income than heterosexuals (Klawitter and Flatt’s 1998; Anastas, 2001).
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest gay and lesbian lobbying group in the United States, has put forth extensive research and lobbying efforts to combat workplace discrimination for America’s gays and lesbians. Two annual, comprehensive yearly publications by HRC, The Corporate Equality Index and The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Americans provide a careful inspection of the work environment of gays and lesbians.
The Index provides an overall rating score to the Fortune 500 companies in-relation to their overall work environment for homosexuals. Seven criteria comprise the index and are broad measures of corporate behavior toward the GLBT community. There was little change in the 2002 criteria compared to that of 2003. Some questions on the 2003 survey regarding practices that are not part of the criteria but are important indicators of how a