Last updated on: 3/28/2011 | Author:

M.V. Lee Badgett, PhD Biography

Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Research Director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy
Pro to the question "Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?"

“Same-sex couples are similarly situated to different-sex couples in terms of their economic status, their family decisions, their interdependence, and their valuing of marriage. It’s no surprise, then, that gay couples eagerly take advantage of the right to marry when they have it. Research shows that couples who marry – gay or straight – want to express their commitment to each other and to their family and friends. Same-sex couples want to marry to create a firm personal and legal foundation for their own lives and security for their current and future children.

Gay couples need access to civil marriage for the same reason that heterosexual couples need it: only the law can create a family relationship between adults that will be recognized by the state and third parties, like employers and insurance companies. Gay couples need the cultural status of marriage (not civil unions) because that’s what their friends and family understand and look for.

Overall, the evidence suggests that letting same-sex couples marry would be good public policy. Same-sex couples and their families will benefit, and the institution of marriage does not suffer. Gay couples’ interest in marriage is a vote in favor of the ongoing relevance of marriage in today’s world, a change that should strengthen, not weaken, the institution.”

Email to, Mar. 22, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director, Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Aug. 2007-present
  • Research Director, Williams Institute, UCLA, Sep. 2005-present
  • Professor, Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1997-present
  • Visiting Professor, School of Law, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), 2005-2007, Summer 2008
  • Visiting Researcher, Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, 2003-2004
  • Assistant and Associate Professor, Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1997-2008
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies and Lesbian and Gay Studies, Yale University, 1995-1996
  • Co-founder and Research Director, Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, 1994-2006
  • Research Analyst, National Commission for Employment Policy, US Department of Labor, Summer 1994
  • Assistant Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland, College Park, 1990-1997
  • PhD, Economics, University of California at Berkeley, 1990
  • BA, Economics, University of Chicago, 1982
  • Recipient, Chancellor’s Medal, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Nov. 9. 2009
  • Named one of twenty most influential lesbians in academia, Curve Magazine, 2008
  • Recipient, Dukeminier Award for Best Sexual Orientation Law Review Article, 2005
  • College Outstanding Teacher Award, Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts, 2000-2001
  • Recipient, Out 100, Out Magazine, 2001
  • Recipient, Certificate of Appreciation, Stonewall Center, 1999
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Gay Marriage Be Legal?