Entries in Same Sex Couples (3)


Maryland Ready to Become Eighth State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- Maryland is on the verge of becoming the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

On Thursday, the Maryland state Senate voted 25 to 22 to allow gay and lesbian nuptials, coming on the heels of the House of Delegates passing a similar measure by a 72 to 67 vote.

It's guaranteed to become law since Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has promised to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

However, just as in Washington state, which recently passed same-sex marriage legislation, homosexuals may have to wait until November to go to the altar if opponents of their legal unions collect enough signatures that would give voters the right to decide the issue.  The opposition needs close to 56,000 signatures delivered to Maryland election officials by June 30.

Regardless, once Malley signs the legislation, Maryland technically become the eighth state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit people of the same sex to wed.

Last week, New Jersey lawmakers gave their blessing to homosexuals marrying, only to see Republican Gov. Chris Christie veto the bill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Census 2010: One-Quarter of Gay Couples Raising Children

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An estimated one-quarter of all same-sex households are raising children, according to U.S. Census data, providing one of the first portraits of gay American families.

For the first time ever, the census counts same-sex couples and their children, and as data trickles out state by state, more gay families are being tallied in the South.

Just last week, reports from Hawaii and Alabama -- two very different states geographically and socially -- revealed that 27 and 23 percent of same-sex couples were raising children, respectively, according to an analysis by the Williams Institute, a UCLA School of Law think tank that focuses on lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender issues.

Data released Thursday on five more states showed that 28 percent of families in Wyoming are raising children.  In California, the percentage is 21 percent, Delaware, 19 percent, Kansas, 26 percent, and Pennsylvania, 20 percent.

The emerging profile of same-sex families comes just as New York legislators are poised to vote on a bill that could legalize gay marriage. The controversial bill is one vote away from being passed and could make New York the sixth and largest state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Five other states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia -- allow gay marriage.  Advocates say census counts matter in these political debates.  They argue that the data is important for understanding their needs and forming policies in the best interest of their children.

"This is the first time it accurately reflects families that have always been there," said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for the gay rights group Marriage Equality USA.

"It's something we find out when they are lobbying in legislatures like Albany right now and reps say they don't have someone in their district who it matters to," he said.  "That's why it's so critical to show we are in every state, every city and every county in the United States.  There are constituents and they need to know we are here."

Statistics on the children of gay couples have previously been released at the state level, but never in a way that allowed demographers, legislators, and gay rights advocates to glean a national picture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hospital Visitation Rights for Gay, Lesbian Partners Take Effect

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Patients at nearly every hospital in the country will now be allowed to decide who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf -- regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or family makeup -- under new federal regulations that took effect Tuesday.

The rules, which apply to hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, were first proposed by President Obama in an April memorandum and later implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services after a period of public review.

They represent a landmark advance in the rights of same-sex couples and domestic partners who heretofore had no legal authority to be with a hospitalized partner because they were either not a blood relative or spouse.

Hospitals must now inform patients, or an attending friend or family member, of their rights to visitors of their choosing.  The policy also prohibits discrimination against visitors based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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