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Census Report: More Same-Sex Couples in Idaho Stepping Out of the Closet

November 5, 2007

Boise, ID – It's being called a "population explosion." The number of same-sex couples in Idaho has increased by almost 700 percent, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today. Lee Badgett, who helped analyze the data for the UCLA Law School's Williams Institute, says across the country, same-sex couple numbers have taken the biggest jumps in states where there have been debates and referenda about banning same-sex marriage.

"In a sense, it's entirely possible that the debates about gay issues are actually bringing people out of the closet in those places."

Badgett says making their sexual preferences known to friends and relatives also is an educational mission, of sorts, for many gays and lesbians in Idaho.

"One of the big predictors of attitudes towards lesbians and gay men is knowing somebody who is lesbian or gay, and having had a meaningful conversation about what that means."

Badgett says studies have shown that people who are personally acquainted with others who are gay or lesbian are more likely to support same-sex rights at work, and in laws. Critics of the analysis say it's a tactic to try to portray homosexuality as a social norm.

Results of the Census data analysis are available online, at

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - ID