The Gayby Factor

A new report shows an increase in same-sex parenting

For years the debate has raged about how many people actually identify as LGBT. The hotly contested, if not underwhelmingly low and outdated 10 percent rule has long applied, even though an average Saturday night spent on 13th Street may have you thinking otherwise.

Determining how many gay folks are having kids is proving a little less complicated thanks to a census report that suggests as many as eight percent of LGBT couples have a child in their household.

Does that mean “gaybies” are the new must-have accessory?

Reality is that LGBT parents are becoming more visible than ever. If you visited Penn’s Landing during Pride this past Sunday you probably saw as many gay and lesbian moms and dads and you did pet parents. And because local groups like Philadelphia Family Pride have been working hard to find ways for gay and lesbian families to become more involved in the local community, the community is seeing a lot more of them at school, in the neighborhood and everywhere else parents spend their time.

What’s even more interesting is that when the newest census results are released this summer and compared with 2000’s report, we’ll likely see an even greater spike in same-sex parenting. The New York Times reports that 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children say they have adopted as recently as 2009 – that’s up eight percent from 2000, according to Gary Gates of the Williams Institute of Sexual Orientation Law at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Why the increase? Two reasons: a gain in acceptance of LGBT rights and success in fighting laws that discriminate against potential gay or lesbian parents.

Let’s not forget the kids, either. Currently, it’s estimated that more than 115,000 children are waiting to be adopted in the U.S. As more LGBT Americans are gaining adoption rights, more states (with the exception of Utah and Mississippi that ban gay adoption) are allowing LGBT single parents and same-sex couples to adopt. There have also been a few noteworthy victories in the past year in both Florida and Arkansas where the Supreme Court ruled against adoption discrimination for LGBT people. And organizations like HelpUsAdopt.org are even helping gays and lesbians secure adoption grants.

“We simply must eliminate any obstacles that stand in the way of finding homes for the nearly 120,000 children nationwide who are desperately waiting to be adopted,” says Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council. “State agencies and adoption providers must judge the quality of prospective parents based solely on their character, their capabilities as a parent and their capacity to provide children a loving, stable home.”

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