Monthly Archives: November 2015

Relocating to Rhode Island as an LGBT Individual or Family

Posted on November 30, 2015 in Buying a Home

Thinking about moving to Rhode Island?  The state has a number of LGBT celebrations, including the Providence LGBTQ Film Festival, a Youth Pride event, and much more.  There are many reasons you might want to move to the state, including the fact that it is one of the more progressive places in the U.S.

Rights

Rhode Island Has Some Great Benefits for Members of the LGBT CommunityRhode Island was ahead of the curve in same-sex marriage, recognizing civil unions in 2011 and full marriage in 2013.  The legislation legalizing same-sex marriage passed with little opposition in the house and had the full support of then-governor (and now presidential candidate) Lincoln Chafee.  However, the state had recognized the same-sex marriages done in other states starting in 2007. The state also repealed all anti-sodomy laws back in 1998 after seven attempts.

As far as benefits go, the state started giving state employees same-sex partner benefits starting in 2001.

In 1995, Rhode Island added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy, and in 2001, they added gender identity. Both identity and orientation are also included in the state’s criminal hate crime statutes.

Same-sex couples have routinely been cleared to adopt children for several decades now, and they do not even need to live in the state to go through the state’s adoption system.  Both people are listed as the parents, and the child’s birth certificate is even amended as such.

Where to Live

If you’re looking for the best city to live in for LGBT activities and community, gay and lesbian real estate agents will all point you to Providence.  The capital of the state is often called one of the gayest cities in the U.S.  This is evident by the fact that it became the first state capital city to elect an out gay mayor in 2002 (which also made it the largest city to have an LGBT mayor, although that’s no longer true since Portland, Oregon elected an out mayor in 2009).

One of the reasons the LGBT community is so large in Providence is because there are three progressive universities in the state.  The students who come to these universities are often fairly liberal, and many decide to remain in Rhode Island.  This has led to the LGBT community quickly growing.

If you’re looking for a New England state to call home, Rhode Island may be the perfect fit for you.  It’s been named as one of the Best Places for Lesbians to Live and is certainly welcoming to LGBT people.

Pennsylvania Has a Lot to Offer the LGBT Community

Posted on November 23, 2015 in Buying a Home

Are you thinking of moving to Pennsylvania?  If you ask a gay or lesbian real estate agent about the LGBT community in the state, you may be surprised to learn that many cities in Pennsylvania are very welcoming.  The state itself legalized same-sex marriage in May of 2014 following the Whitewood v. Wolf case.  Prior to that, Philadelphia offered a domestic partnership registry.

Other LGBT Rights in the State

Pennsylvania Has Many Perks for LGBT Families That Are Considering a Move Out ThereOne of the things that many gay and lesbian couples want to know before moving is how adoptions are handled.  In Pennsylvania, second-parent adoption by same-sex couples has been legal since 2002.  That year, the state also passed a law defining LGBT hate crimes, but unfortunately, information touching on another subject was included in the bill.  This caused the state supreme court to strike the law.  New hate crime legislation has yet to be passed.

An executive order, the first in the country, was issued in 1975 protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace.  This order was updated in 2003 to include gender identity.

Where do you want to live?

There are a number of great cities in Pennsylvania.  Of course, many live in Philadelphia, which is known for its large LGBT population and its gayborhood of Washington Square.  But there are many other cities that are also great for gays and lesbians.

Pittsburgh, for example, has a large number of different LGBT organizations and is a great city for those who want to get involved in their local community.  All of these groups are working together to bring more equality to the city, state, and country.

Then there’s Reading, a city that’s practically a giant gayborhood itself.  It has a large LGBT population and is one of the most welcoming cities.  The Centre Park Historic District is of particular note due to its LGBT-owned businesses, shops, and theater.

Doylestown, located near Philadelphia, is a nice suburb with fewer than 10,000 residents.  If you’re looking for an LGBT-friendly large town that has a fairly short commute to Philly, this is the place.  It’s also only a couple of hours from New York.  The city has its own great art community, too.

Erie, Pennsylvania, also has its own LGBT neighborhood in Glenwood Heights.  This area’s historic homes are reasonably priced and provide access to some great nightlife.

Finally, there’s Easton.  Like Doylestown, commuting to Philadelphia or New York City from Easton is a snap, so it’s a great location for anyone who doesn’t want to live in a huge city.

Utah Is Growing in Terms of LGBT Rights and Acceptance

Posted on November 15, 2015 in Buying a Home

Many LGBT people feel like Utah is one of the most oppressive states when it comes to gay rights because it’s the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), usually referred to as the Mormons.  However, while they do call Salt Lake City their home, not everyone in the state is a part of the Mormon religion.  In fact, many are not, and there are a number of ways in which Utah is actually very welcoming to LGBT people.

Same-Sex Marriage

Utah Is an Up and Coming State for Members Of the LGBT CommunityMany people would have thought that Utah would go down as one of the last holdouts against same-sex marriage, but it was actually made legal in the state in late 2014 after the ban was ruled unconstitutional by the Tenth Circuit.  This was one of the first appeals to go to the US Supreme Court, but they declined to hear the case.  The state’s laws against sodomy, however, were on the books until 2003.  In fact, these laws are technically still in effect today because they have never been removed from the constitution.

Adoption

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2014, LGBT couples living together could not adopt children.  Only legally married couples or single people living alone could adopt – a law stated that a single person who was cohabitating with another outside of a valid marriage was not eligible.  Fortunately, this is no longer an issue.  Finding the right adoption agency, though, can be tricky.  Fortunately, there are a number of gay and lesbian real estate experts who can help steer you in the right direction.

Antidiscrimination Laws

Some LGBT people were surprised when the LDS church supported a bill that banned discrimination based on orientation and gender identity in housing and employment.  However, the law does include religious organization exemptions, any school or hospital affiliated with a religious group, and the Boy Scouts of America.  While some see this as a win, others see the religious exemption clause as dangerous and have worked (so far unsuccessfully) to pass a protection bill without any restrictions.

A State of Contradictions

As you can see, due to its relationship with the LDS church, Utah is something of a state of contradictions.  The church has rallied against certain LGBT freedoms, yet it also has supported a number of bills that prohibit discrimination against everyone.  If you’re thinking about living in Utah, remember that the state is also very different in places.  Salt Lake City isn’t representative of many of the smaller towns, some of which are more liberal, some more conservative.

2015 LGBT Real Estate Trends

Posted on November 8, 2015 in Buying a Home

The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) conducted a survey in April of 2015 to see what trends could be identified in the LGBT real estate market.  This survey has 1,798 participants.  So what did the 2015 LGBT Home Buyer and Seller Survey show?  Let’s take a look!

The Key Factors LGBT People Look for in a Neighborhood

There Are Many 2015 Real Estate Trends That Could Impact How You Go About Buying Your New HomeIf you asked a gay or lesbian real estate agent what their LGBT clients look for in a neighborhood, most would say that they want to feel at home there.  This survey narrowed that rather broad statement down further.  By “feeling at home,” most mean they want to feel safe: 80% of those surveyed said that living in an area with a low crime rate was a major factor in their search for a home.  Living in an open, progressive neighborhood also ranked fairly high with 70% of people saying that was important to them.

Interestingly enough, living in a gay community is no longer a major concern for most LGBT home buyers.  Only 33% said they considered it very important to leave in an area with other LGBT people, while only 13% said it was important to live in a gay neighborhood.

Where do LGBT People Live?

Not all LGBT people look to live in the same areas, but it appears that gender plays a part in where people make their home.  According to the survey, 43% of all male participants said they were likely to move to larger cities, while only 30% of the female participants said they were drawn to large metro areas.

Schools are Important

Lesbians and bisexual women were more likely than gay or bisexual men to have children, the survey showed (19% to 6%).  However, 59% of all young LGBT people in the survey said they planned on having children, so this percentage could dramatically shift within the next 10 years.  Those with children said that schools played a major part in determining where they moved (42% said schools were very important).  Out of those who plan to start a family, 45% said that they would consider moving if it meant getting their children into better schools.

Buying Real Estate

Finally, the NAGLREP was interested in seeing how many LGBT people owned real estate.  The survey showed that a little more than half (54%) of all participants owned some form of real estate and that ownership was split fairly evenly between men and women.  However, this survey was conducted before same-sex marriage was legalized—if the survey is done again next year, it’s very likely that this percentage will have increased.