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Census Report: WYO Same-Sex Couple Population Explosion

November 5, 2007

Cheyenne, WY – The numbers of same-sex couples in Wyoming, and throughout the Rocky Mountain West, are up by close to 700 percent, and rising at a pace much faster than overall population growth, according to new analysis of U.S. Census numbers released today. Lee Badgett, of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, helped analyze the demographics for the report. Perhaps the most surprising finding: Badgett says across the country, the increases are highest in the most conservative states.

"People are feeling like they need to 'come out' in order to be more visible to their friends, their family, their neighbors, their elected officials."

Badgett also notes that, in states where there have been heated debates about banning same-sex marriage, the numbers of same-sex couples appear to have skyrocketed.

"It looks these are really the more socially conservative places, pulling people out of the closet. These debates are pulling people out of closet."

Badgett says studies have shown that people who know someone personally who is gay or lesbian are more likely to support same-sex rights at work, and in laws. Critics of the analysis are labeling it a tactic to try to portray homosexuality as a social norm. The survey results can be accessed online, at www.law.ucla/edu.org

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - WY