Friday, March 10, 2006

Same Sex Couples -- "Brokeback Marriages" Are Indeed A Part of Modern Life

From Ash:

Brokeback Mountain didn't win Best Picture on Monday, but that hasn't stopped an article in Tuesday's New York Times from being one of the currently most emailed articles of its website.

The article addresses the prevalence of what it calls "Brokeback marriages" -- those with straight women married to homosexual men. In it, it references a 1990 University of Chicago report that found somewhere between 1.7 million to 3.4 million American women have been married to a man who was gay or used to be gay before their marriage.

Thank goodness someone else in the media is starting to talking about this.

According to a 2000 report in Demography, analysis of the 1990 U.S. Census found that 28.7 of the women who identified themselves as lesbian had been previously married. Another 1.2 percent said that they were lesbian and were still married at the time of the survey. 17.2 percent of the men who identified themselves as gay in the 1990 U.S. Census had been previously married, while another 1.3 percent said that they were gay and still married at the time of the survey.

Analysis of two other preeminent U.S. surveys – the National Health and Social Life Survey and the General Social Survey – showed the number was even higher: 46 percent of lesbians and 30 percent of gay men were either married or previously married. (And those numbers may actually be low, because they required the respondents to openly admit their sexuality -- and you have to think that at least some couples fill out the surveys together -- and if they've lived in a closeted relationship this long, are probably not going to come out over a blind response survey.)

It isn't just that gays and lesbians have been married -- but they've also had children within their relationships.

There are an estimated 3 to 5 million children in the U.S. with parents who had a previous, ongoing heterosexual relationship but are now gay.

The numbers are difficult to say with any real certainty, but some experts estimate that only about five percent of the 250,000 U.S. children (12,500) being raised by same-sex parents were adopted. For the other 95 percent -- 237,500 children -- most of them are the biological children of one of the parents.

Recognizing this has huge implications for the debate on same-sex parenting and same-sex adoption. Because in those debates, the "gay couple" prototype that we imagine we're talking about is two dads in Florida who want to adopt a baby from China, or two moms in Ohio who are buying sperm from a sperm bank. But that scenario (in our mind's eye) is only 5 percent of who will be affected. The prototype we should hold in our mind is the Other 95 Percent - kids who might be in junior high, with parents who were once married, and now one of those parents is gay or lesbian.


Anonymous Hosking said...

Speaking of family values with same sex relationships, Beacon Press has a few books. Here is info on one:

11:17 AM  

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