DONDENA Seminar - Peter Brandon

Peter Brandon
Remote video URL
Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage Improved Pathways to Long-Term Economic Security for American Same-Sex Couples? The Case of Homeownership

“Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage Improved Pathways to Long-Term Economic Security for American Same-Sex Couples? The Case of Homeownership”

SPEAKER: Peter Brandon (University at Albany)


In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage. This landmark ruling was the result of the tireless work of gay rights activists over several decades. Today in the United States, married same-sex couples share the same rights as heterogamous married couples. And, recent polls suggest that the overwhelming majority of Americans, (over 70%), support same-sex couples having those rights and securing the benefits that an American legally recognized marriage provides. While controversy swirls around whether or not the Supreme Court’s decision will remain settled law, a major question yet to be answered is whether the expansion of these rights and benefits to same-sex couples has improved their long-term economic security, such as building wealth. Put differently, newly acquired and broadened rights for American same-sex couples, like the right to marry, is progress, but has that led to increased and enduring economic well-being and security? This study addresses the question by examining changes in homeownership among married, same-sex couples since homeownership is usually a long-term financial commitment and a pathway to creating greater economic security. The study finds that homeownership among American married same-sex couples rose after the Supreme Court’s decision; and that more of these couples obtain mortgages in both names rather than in only one; but the study also finds that which same-sex couples benefit from homeownership depends upon the self-reported sexual orientation of the couple.


Peter Brandon is a social demographer whose work encompasses population dynamics, family well-being, and economic sociology. He received a B.A. from Michigan State University, M.A. from the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. After postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for Research on Poverty and National Institutes for Child Health and Development, he held research and professorial positions at the University of Wisconsin, University of Massachusetts, Brown University, Australian National University, and Carleton College. He has been a member of three National Academy of Sciences panels advising the United States government on immigration issues and longitudinal survey methods as well as consulting with governments and international organizations on evaluating child and family policies. Peter is currently the Fulbright-Tocqueville Distinguished Chair at Ined, Paris, and a professor at the University at Albany—State University of New York. He has received grants from numerous institutions and foundations.


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