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Entries in Same-Sex (5)

Friday
Dec142012

Same-Sex Marriage May Have Mental Health Benefits, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the Supreme Court gears up to hear arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage, a new study suggests such unions may boost mental health.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual people who are married have significantly lower levels of psychological distress when compared to their non-married counterparts, according to a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.

“On one level, it’s not surprising,” said study author Allen LeBlanc, a professor of sociology at San Francisco State University.  “We know that heterosexual marriage provides a higher perception of social integration and support.  It makes sense that same-sex marriages would carry some of the same benefits.”

The data comes from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, which includes data from more than 47,000 heterosexual and homosexual men and women, ages 18 to 70.  Participants were asked about psychosocial distress, legal relationship status, education and employment status, and self-perceived overall health.

The study found that psychological distress was not significantly distinguishable among people in legally recognized same-sex or heterosexual relationships.  There were, however, big differences in well-being between gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women who were married and those who were not in any sort of legally recognized union.

The Supreme Court announced last Friday that it would reassess the legality of two significant anti-gay marriage laws: California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“[The laws] were not designed to harm mental health among LGBs [lesbian, gay and bisexual people], but it appears that such policies may indeed harm sexual minority populations,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said more research is needed to determine whether individuals’ well-being increases when their kind of relationship gets legal backing.

He also said marriage is significantly protective against distress in heterosexual couples as well.

“The social environment of our lives affects well-being for everyone,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul172012

Same-Sex Families at Risk with Patchwork of State Parenting Laws

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Current state laws put many children living in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families at risk and undermine family stability, according to a new report out Tuesday.

In more than 30 states, children in LGBT families are legal strangers to at least one of their parents.

In Louisiana, for example, one would have to be the biological parent or legally married to his or her partner to secure parenting rights.  Same-sex marriage is illegal in that state and two men's or women's names cannot appear on the birth certificate.

Between 2 million and 2.8 million children are being raised by LGBT parents, and because of a patchwork of state laws and no federal protections, many of these children are at risk, according to the report by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the Equality Foundation.

The findings are based on a 2011 report, "Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequities Hurt LGBT Families."  This third companion report recommends policies and laws that the groups say address the changing American family and protect children.

In the United States, 69 percent of children live with married, heterosexual parents, down from 83 percent in 1970, according to the report.  Today, an estimated 24 percent of female same-sex couples, 11 percent of male couples and 38 percent of transgender Americans are raising children.

The states with the highest number of children being raised by LGBT families -- many of them in the conservative South -- are those with the most restrictive laws.

While states like California and New York have high numbers of same-sex couples, those most likely to be raising children live in Mississippi, Wyoming, Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Montana, South Dakota and South Carolina, in that order.

A second legal parent may be unable to pick up a child from day care without authorization or advocate for a child in school.  In these states, nonbiological same-sex parents cannot include a child on their health insurance and can be denied access to a hospital in an emergency or be left out of health care decisions.

Inconsistent laws make it difficult even for families from states where same-sex marriage and second-parent adoption is legal when they cross state lines, according to the report.

"If a couple in Washington, a state with full parental recognition, goes on vacation jet skiing in Idaho and the kid gets hurt, one parent might not be recognized," said Calla Rongerude, spokesman for the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBT think tank, and one of the co-authors of the report.

"If you are a New York family visiting Philadelphia, you better take everything you have and hope there is a sympathetic nurse when you have to go to the hospital," she said.

Children are also unable to access death or disability benefits or government safety net programs from a non-legal parent.  They can lose inheritance and other protections designed to keep them safe during times of crisis, according to the report.

"When we talk about ballot measures on marriage, we don't talk about the kids," said Rongerude.  "And frankly, they are the most vulnerable."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Study: Kids of Parents in Same-Sex Relationships Fare Worse as Adults

BananaStock/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- A new study finds that adult children of parents in same-sex relationships fare worse socially, psychologically and physically than people raised in other family arrangements.

Critics call the study deeply flawed, saying the results don't accurately describe -- or even measure -- any children raised in stable households with two same-sex parents.

The study surveyed nearly 3,000 U.S. adults, ages 18 to 39, about their upbringing and their lives today, asking questions about factors such as income, relationship stability, mental health and history of sexual abuse.  Of the 3,000 respondents, 73 reported that their father had engaged in a same-sex relationship and 163 reported that their mother had done so.

People who reported that their mother or father had a same-sex relationship at some point were different than children raised by their biological, still-married parents in 25 of the study's 40 measures.  And most of the time, they fared worse.  The children of parents who at some point had a same-sex partner were more likely to be on welfare, have a history of depression, have less education and report a history of sexual abuse, the study found.

The study was published Sunday in the journal Social Science Research.  It was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, groups that are "commonly known for their support of conservative causes," though the organizations played no role in the design and analysis of the report, the study said.

Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of the report, said the study was not intended as a political statement, but simply tried to answer the question of whether children of parents with same-sex relationships are different.  He said the study also isn't designed to prove that family structure causes poor health.

"I'm not claiming that gay and lesbian adults are bad parents.  This is not a parenting study," Regnerus said.  "What this shows is that there's lots of diversity."

Regardless, the study touches a raw nerve at a time of heated political battles over gay marriage and same-sex parenting.  Both supporters and critics of the study claim to have science on their side.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Gay Marriage Quandary: Am I the Bride or Groom?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the first day that New York State allowed same-sex couples to start the process to get a marriage license this week, Sandra Rodriguez-Diaz and her lesbian partner Miriam Soriano had to make an "awkward" choice on the application form: Who was the bride and who was the groom?

Fredy H. Kaplan and Anthony Cipriano faced the same confusion filling out their personal information, according to a story in The New York Times -- until Kaplan declared to his partner of six years, "You're going to be the bride."

Clerks at city hall told baffled couples to wait until online application forms could be adjusted to accommodate same-sex couples, who captured the right to marry July 24 after New York joined five other states and the District of Columbia to legally sanction gay marriage.

As the right to marry gains momentum across the United States, same-sex couples are redefining the traditional roles of husband and wife, and bureaucrats are scrambling to keep pace with the social revolution.

"This kind of thing doesn't set well with [Mayor] Michael Bloomberg," said Richard Socarides, president of the national advocacy group Equality Matters and former advisor to President Bill Clinton on issues affecting gays and lesbians.

It only took Bloomberg -- one of the most vocal supporters of the gay marriage bill -- 24 hours to straighten out the mess, ordering the city clerk to update the online applications to rephrase the personal information categories to "Bride/Groom/Spouse A" and "Bride/Groom/Spouse B."

"I think it's important not to try to put gay couples in traditional heterosexual married roles," said Socarides.  "What we consider traditional roles of the husband and the wife, even in a heterosexual relationship, are certainly evolving into something different.  Just like everything else, it happens much more quickly in the digital age."

But even as modern heterosexual couples are moving beyond stereotypes, cultural perceptions of gay couples -- one is assertive and masculine, the other more feminine and submissive -- still persist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar212011

Sex Study Shatters Myth of College Girls Cavorting With Girls

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Sociologists are shaking their heads at a recent study that shatters the myth that college women are more apt to dabble in same-sex experiences than their less-educated counterparts.

For years, terms like "lesbian until graduation," were used to describe a promiscuous college culture where enlightened and emboldened women experimented in bisexuality. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that women with bachelor's degrees are less likely to have a same-sex experience than those who did not finish high school.

The study was based on data from the 2006-08 National Survey of Family Growth, which attempted to measure sexual behavior, sexual attraction and sexual identity among males and females aged 15 to 44.

Of the 13,500 responses, 10 percent of women aged 22 to 44 with a bachelor's degree said they had had a same sex experience, compared with 15 percent of those with no high school diploma. Women who had completed high school, or had some college, were somewhere in the middle. Six percent of college-educated women reported oral sex with a same-sex partner, compared with 13 percent who did not complete high school.

"Women who have college educations are much more open about it, and that's why we had the impression they were the ones who had done it," said Stephanie Coontz, co-chair and director of public education at the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Illinoise and author of, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.

"They are much more willing to joke about it, even when they haven't done it," she said. "When you actually look at same-sex families, many are working-class and impoverished, raising kids."

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, more same-sex couples are raising children in economically poorer states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas than in places like California and Massachusetts. These families defy the stereotype that mainstream gay America is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast. They are much more socio-economically diverse, according to U.S. Census data.

The CDC report, which was released earlier this month, also showed that the gender gap in same-sex relationships was wide. Twice as many women as men reported same-sex behavior. Three percent of the women -- and 5 percent of the least-educated women -- said they were attracted equally to men and women, compared with one percent of the men. Even though 13 percent of all the women surveyed said they had experienced sex with another woman, the vast majority did not identify themselves as gay or bisexual.

A similar survey in 2002 showed no patterns of educational difference in women's behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio