Changing Family Patterns - Gay And Lesbian Couples And Families
partners sex domestic benefits
In the 1990s unmarried, opposite-sex couples cracked the door to gaining employer sponsored dependent benefits for live-in partners. Same-sex partners soon pursued the same benefits. In August 2000 the "Big Three" domestic automakers from Detroit—Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler—added full health-care benefits for the domestic partners of their 500,000 U.S. employees. Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country (ninety-eight U.S. papers plus twenty-two television stations), introduced domestic-partner benefits beginning January 1, 2002. In September 2002 Purdue University announced that it would become the seventh Big Ten school to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners of university employees. According to a February 2004 article in Kiplinger Business Forecasts, about 20% of private sector and government employers, and more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies, offered domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.
|Interracial couples, 1980–2002|
|(Numbers in thousands. Includes all interracial married couples with at least one spouse of white or black race.)|
|Interracial married couples|
|Year||Total married couples||Total||Total||Black husband white wife||White husband black wife||White/other race*||Black/other race*|
|NA Not available.|
|* "Other race," is any race other than White or Black, such as American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. This total excludes combinations of other races by other races.|
|SOURCE: "Table MS-3. Interracial Couples: 1980–2002," U.S. Census Bureau, September 15, 2004, http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh–fam/tabMS–3.pdf (accessed September 24, 2004)|
Same-sex partners lobbied for recognition and rights—including marriage, divorce, adoption, child custody, property and inheritance, hospital visitation, and medical decision-making. In 1997, in the first state law of its kind, the Hawaii legislature gave gays and lesbians the right to participate in their partners' medical insurance and state pensions and granted them inheritance rights, joint property ownership rights, and the right to sue for wrongful death. In 1999 California recognized same-sex couples as "domestic partners." The Vermont Civil Union law, implemented in 2000, offered same-sex couples many of the legal rights available to married couples. New Jersey's legislature passed a domestic partner law in 2004 with limited rights including insurance and medical decision-making.
Domestic Partners Recognized in Survivor Rights
The plight of domestic partners made headlines after September 11, 2001, as domestic partners of individuals who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon found themselves ineligible for survivor benefits from Social Security, workers' compensation, and potentially from victim compensation funds. If the deceased left no will, the partner had no legal claim to the estate. Since September 11, 2001, the Red Cross, the United Way, and several other relief agencies have taken steps to assure fair treatment of gay and lesbian partners. New York Governor George Pataki issued an Executive Order on October 11, 2001, granting same-sex partners the same benefits as spouses from the New York State Crime Victims Board.
In June 2002 President George W. Bush signed a bill making domestic partners eligible for death benefits paid to survivors of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty. Retroactive to September 11, 2001, the new law allowed a $250,000 federal benefit paid to any beneficiary listed on the victim's life insurance policy, previously restricted to spouses, children, and parents. The new law was named for the Reverend Mychal Judge, the New York Fire Department's chaplain who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The law marked the first extension of federal benefits to domestic partners.
Gay and Lesbian Marriage Remains Controversial
Reflecting changing societal attitudes toward lesbian and gay partners, the New York Times announced in August 2002 that it would include reports of same-sex commitment ceremonies and some formal registrations of lesbian and gay partnerships in its Sunday Styles section, along with reports of opposite-sex engagements and weddings.
While insurance and survivor benefits were available to gay and lesbian partners, many couples pushed for the same marriage rights as those available to heterosexual
couples. This issue became the subject of heated debate across the nation. State legislatures and courts struggled with proposals to recognize or to ban same-sex marriages and/or civil unions. In his 2004 reelection campaign, President George W. Bush proposed a constitutional amendment to ban marriage between persons of the same sex.
Gay and Lesbian Families with Children
Many gay and lesbian couples raise children—biological children of one or both members of the couple or adopted children. Of same-sex partner households in Census 2000, 22.3% of male households and 34.37% of female households included children. The National Adoption
|Type of computer activity at work, by selected characteristics, September 2001|
|Employed persons who used a computer at work (in thousands)||Percent who used a computer for:|
|Characteristic||Word processing or desktop publishing||Internet or e-mail||Calendar or scheduling||Spread sheets or databases||Graphics or design||Programing||Other activities|
|Note: Data refer to computer use on the sole or primary job. The percentage of persons who used computers for various activities may exceed 100 percent as persons may report multiple activities. Detail for the above race and Hispanic-origin groups will not sum to totals because data for the "other races" group are not presented and Hispanics are included in both the white and black population groups.|
|SOURCE: "Table 3. Type of Computer Activity at Work by Selected Characteristics, September 2001," in Computer and Internet Use at Work in 2001, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2002, http://www.bls.gov/cps/ciuaw.pdf (accessed September 14, 2004)|
|Age and sex|
|Total, 16 years and over||72,277||67.0||71.8||52.9||62.3||28.8||15.2||13.1|
|16 to 24 years||7,087||53.6||56.1||45.6||52.2||20.8||12.2||14.3|
|16 to 19 years||1,532||39.8||36.9||32.1||35.7||12.8||7.4||19.6|
|20 to 24 years||5,555||57.4||61.3||49.3||56.7||22.9||13.6||12.8|
|25 years and over||65,190||68.4||73.6||53.7||63.4||29.7||15.6||12.9|
|25 to 34 years||17,038||68.8||74.8||56.3||66.4||30.0||17.6||12.6|
|35 to 44 years||20,909||68.8||73.7||55.5||65.2||31.3||16.9||12.0|
|45 to 54 years||18,075||69.4||74.1||53.5||62.3||29.9||13.5||13.7|
|55 to 64 years||7,681||66.4||71.5||47.0||57.5||25.5||12.9||13.8|
|65 years and over||1,488||58.0||62.2||37.2||47.2||20.6||12.1||16.6|
|Race and Hispanic origin|
|Full- or part-time status|
|Usually full time on primary job||58,918||68.4||74.0||55.2||64.3||29.6||16.2||12.7|
|Usually part time on primary job||8,414||59.7||57.7||39.2||49.8||22.8||91||16.0|
|Hours vary on primary job||4,945||62.7||70.7||49.6||59.5||29.1||14.0||12.1|
|Total, 25 years and over||65,190||68.4||73.6||53.7||63.4||29.7||15.6||12.9|
|Less than a high school diploma||1,831||45.5||46.9||40.7||45.7||15.5||11.3||19.2|
|High school graduate, no college||14,227||55.2||59.9||46.2||53.8||19.9||11.6||14.5|
|Some college, no degree||12,565||64.1||69.1||51.1||60.6||26.5||14.0||13.4|
Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) reported that gays and lesbians had always adopted children but that the number of these adoptive parents was unknown.
ADOPTION BY GAYS AND LESBIANS. Adoption rules differed in each state. Ten states (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) and the District of Columbia allowed openly gay and lesbian individuals or couples to adopt. Although some joint adoption applications were successful in other states, the most common practice was for one member of the couple to apply as the legal adoptive parent of the child. In 2000 Florida and Utah were joined by Mississippi as the only states specifically banning lesbians and gays from adopting children.