The New York Times has a very interesting article on minority parents who are flocking to the south to raise their families. Newly released data from the Census Bureau has found that Jacksonville, Florida is home to one of the biggest populations of gay parents in the country.
In addition, the data show, child rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region of the country, according to Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gay couples in Southern states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England.
The New York Times reports:
Black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children, according to Mr. Gates, who used data from a Census Bureau sampling known as the American Community Survey. They are also more likely than their white counterparts to be struggling economically.
Experts offer theories for the pattern. A large number of gay couples, possibly a majority, entered into their current relationship after first having children with partners in heterosexual relationships, Mr. Gates said. That seemed to be the case for many blacks and Latinos in Jacksonville, for whom church disapproval weighed heavily.
“People grew up in church, so a lot of us lived in shame,” said Darlene Maffett, 43, a Jacksonville resident, who had two children in eight years of marriage before coming out in 2002. “What did we do? We wandered around lost. We married men, and then couldn’t understand why every night we had a headache.”
Moreover, gay men who have children do so an average of three years earlier than heterosexual men, census data shows, Mr. Gates said.
About a third of lesbians are parents, and a fifth of gay men are. Advocacy groups argue that their children are some of society’s most vulnerable, with fewer legal protections and less health insurance than children of heterosexual parents.
Married same-sex parents face legal hurdles. Florida does not recognize same-sex marriage, and its domestic partnership recognition, while growing, is an uneven patchwork, and still leaves many spouses uninsured.
AOL Black Voices writer Kirsten Savali weighs in:
In this country, at least the last time I checked, it is illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, sex or creed. Why is same-sex marriage an exception?
It is one thing for personal religious beliefs (or homophobia disguised as religious beliefs) to condemn gay marriage; it's another situation to entirely deny a civil liberty based on those beliefs and endanger children in the process.
Rape, murder and slavery all occur and are accepted in the Bible, while in today's society they are considered the height of atrocities. This proves that some people select which biblical teachings to follow based on societal mores and their own harbored prejudices.
I find it highly hypocritical that socially conservative politicians with enough divorces and affairs under their belts to start a harem would dare attempt to define the sanctity of marriage.
When we place our hands over our hearts, and proudly speak these words, "...with liberty, and justice for all," we shouldn't silently add, "Unless you're black," "unless you're a woman," "unless you're gay" ... and "unless you're different."
That is not equality. That is not America.