Recognition for same-sex parents (or as we call them, parents)

by Parent Co. June 26, 2015

We are thrilled about today's Supreme Court’s ruling that the Constitution guarantees same-sex Americans a right to marriage. The decision confirms what a majority of Americans already say in poll after poll: gay and lesbian people are equal and deserve equal protection of the laws. I wanted to take a minute and use this space to celebrate how this ruling will help hundreds of thousands of same-sex parents raising kids together in America. That is, families in America. Without nationwide, legally recognized marriage rights, committed same-sex couples with kids faced terrible struggles over parental consent, guardianship, and medical rights. In many cases, the old law separated parents and children when they most needed to be together - for example, in times of medical crisis. On a deeper level, lack of uniform, legally recognized marriage rights marginalized the unions of same-sex couples. Despite strong, committed unions, it made them appear "less than" their heterosexual equivalents. Writing for the Supreme Court decision, Justice Kennedy wrote: “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” How happy that this statement is now legally recognized as true for all people, regardless of who they choose to marry. More on how consideration for children played a part in the ruling.

Stats About Same-Sex Families in the USA

Unfortunately, the ruling won’t immediately change the daily discrimination often faced by gay and lesbian people. That fear of discrimination makes it difficult to gather accurate statistics about same-sex parent families in America. The Census Bureau is updating its methods to reduce misreporting of same-sex unions. The Census also now reports legally married same-sex couples as “families." Here are some commonly cited stats about American families headed by same-sex partners:
  • Between 210,000 and 270,000 and kids live in households headed by same-sex couples in the US.
  • An estimated 122,000 same-sex couples are raising kids under the age of 18
  • 18% of same-sex couples in the US are raising kids. (William Institute)
  • In the 2000 U.S. Census, 33% of female same-sex couple households and 22% of male same-sex couple households reported at least one child under the age of 18 living in the home.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 same-sex couples, and about 1 in 4 same-sex couples who are married are raising children. (Williams Institute)
  • 4% of the 1.6 kids adopted in the US are adopted by same-sex couples.
  • Multiple studies show that kids raised by the same-sex couple have no ill effects. For example, here are eight scientific studies you can review.
  • "Consensus is overwhelming in terms of there being no difference in children who are raised by same-sex or different-sex parents," from a report profiled by the BBC.

The Dynamic American Family

The American family is ever-changing; it's as dynamic as America itself. It is America itself. Gay and lesbian parents can now enjoy the full benefits of marriage and family, as they've always deserved. Here's to this happy day, and all families everywhere.

Also read: SCOTUS legalizes same-sex marriage, and the world just got a little better for our kids

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