A new report released on Tuesday shows that children growing up in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, are more likely to live in poverty and may be denied legal ties to one of their parents. The study was authored by gay rights groups that argue that a lack of federal recognition of homosexual marriages means families face higher tax burdens and unequal access to health insurance and government safety net programs.
The student notes that the average household income for same-sex couples raising children lags that of heterosexual couples raising children by more than $15,500 or 20 percent.
Reuters writes on the report:
"An estimated two million children are being raised in such households, the report said. They live in 96 percent of U.S. counties in racially and ethnically diverse families, it said.
Their children are as happy, healthy and well-adjusted as their peers raised by heterosexual parents, it said.
But such families are more likely to live in poverty than married heterosexual households, the report said.
In 31 states, it is very challenging for same-sex parents to establish legal ties for their children to both parents, Chrisler said. Thus a child could be left vulnerable if a parent dies or the relationship dissolves."
Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage told Reuters that a change in the federal marriage law would not better protect children. Marriage between a man and woman best protects children by having a mother and father in the same family, she said.
Sponsors of the study, including the Center for American Progress, National Association of Social Workers and the Family Equality Council, hope that the 100+ state and federal policy recommendations in the study are considered by lawmakers.
"There are myriad ways that our families are discounted by government at all levels, and children are hurt the most," said Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council to the AP. The U.S. census does not attempt to count the number of children being raised by gays and lesbians. Demographer Gary Gates of the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute told AP that he estimates the number to be at 1.2 million, while the new report uses the figure of 2 million, including children with bisexual and transgender parents.
"Certainly children in any household arrangement need to be protected - need full support and love," said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Maryland to the AP. That said, Russell believes such protections should be provided without redefining the traditional concept of marriage as between a man and woman.