President Obama declared Monday, September 28, to be Family Day 2009. More importantly, he included our (LGBT) families right at the start [boldface added]:
"Our family provides one of the strongest influences on our lives. American families from every walk of life have taught us time and again that children raised in loving, caring homes have the ability to reject negative behaviors and reach their highest potential. Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.
It doesn't provide guardianship, social security, or inheritance benefits to our kids, but it is a positive symbol, and in time we can leverage equal rights from greater exposure and visibility.
According to 2008 census data, 150,000 same-sex couples reported being in marriage relationships, which is many more than the actual number of legal same-sex marriage that have occurred.
Analysts said the disparities are probably a reflection of same-sex couples in committed relationships who would get married if they could in their states. The numbers are also an indicator of the count to come in the 2010 census, a tally that could stir a state-by-state fight over same-sex marriage, gay adoption and other legal rights.
Data from the 2005 census shows that in North Carolina, same-sex couples live in every county in the state.
- LGBT families are significantly more racially and ethnically diverse than their straight counterparts.
- People in same-sex couples are more likely to be employed, but on average LGBT couples earn distinctly less than married couples and are much less likely to own a house. (Gay men in couples tend to have lower incomes than married men while lesbians tend to earn more than married women.)
- A quarter of gay couples are raising children, but they have a much lower income and reatly reduced access to other economic resources afforded to married straight couples.
A recent study from Eastern Carolina University and University of Texas researchers shows that gay couples are just as fit to adopt as straight ones.
The findings - reported in the journal Adoption Quarterly - are important because they compare gay and lesbian and heterosexual couples. The study found that the sexual orientation of adoptive parents, whether LGBT or heterosexual, does not have an impact on the emotional development of their children.
This study, along with other recent ones, have significant gay-positive implications for social workers, educators, adoption professionals, and policy makers.