Gays Get Hospital Visitation Rights, Live in the South With Kids, Can Marry in D.C.

What a relatively pleasant week to be homosexual!

In Washington DC, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it won’t be hearing the ridiculous and baseless arguments against same-sex marriage which have befuddled and annoyed judges all around the country since 2004. Anti-gay activists are attempting to challenge the pair of laws D.C. passed in 2009 — one recognizing gay marriages performed outside of DC and another allowing same-sex marriage to be performed within D.C. According to the Washington Post, “The high court declined without comment to hear the case, six months after the the D.C. Court of Appeals had narrowly upheld the law.”

Also today, Hospital Visitation Rights for Gay and Lesbian partners take effect across the country: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.”

Speaking of gay families (don’t you love these seamless transitions?), The New York Times has a great piece about gay families in the South.

Apparently, new US Census data shows that child-rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region in the country. Also, Black and Latino couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising kids:

The pattern, identified by Mr. Gates, is also notable because the families in this region defy the stereotype of a mainstream gay America that is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast.

“We’re starting to see that the gay community is very diverse,” said Bob Witeck, chief executive of Witeck-Combs Communications, which helped market the census to gay people. “We’re not all rich white guys.”

Experts theorize that these numbers reflect the fact that many Black and Latino couples grew up “in the church” where disapproval of homos was way more popular than their actual wants and desires — so many gays and lesbians currently raising children birthed their children in prior heterosexual relationships:

“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.”

Someone should print “We married men, and then couldn’t understand why every night we had a headache” on an apron or something.

However the article points out that these families are more likely to have economic struggles than their white counterparts and “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.” Some children have to keep their parent’s orientation hidden at school for other reasons, and without same-sex marriage protections in Florida, only some adults are lucky enough to get employers who offer domestic partnership benefits. But with domestic partnerships, couples end up paying higher taxes, so you know. There’s always new ways for gays to get effed.

But hope is ALIVE:

But that kind of financial difficulty does not dampen enthusiasm for coaxing along acceptance in this conservative city [Jacksonville, FL] of more than 800,000 people. A recent billboard supporting gay and lesbian youth drew no public scorn or boycotts, and gay pride parades have been held for several years.

Ms. Williams compares the community’s efforts to the struggles of the civil rights movement.

“Slowly but surely, all this will pass,” she said. “I truly believe that.”

Even in Jacksonville, y’all, even in Jacksonville.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2840 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. News Flash: Gay people are everywhere! And they’re not just ‘rich white guys’!

    That’s totally groundbreaking news to…all of us who AREN’T rich white guys living in the North and who have been in the gay community for years.

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  3. “I know that we are young, and I know that you may love me, but I just can’t be with you like this anymore Alejandro”
    This popped into my head while reading the article about gay parenting in the South. Suddenly my mental picture of these families involved black leather, weird bowl haircuts, and Gaga. But Gaga is in my thoughts quite often. <3

  4. The Diversity line caught me as well.
    “We’re not all rich white guys.”
    My mouth fell open at the “duh,”-ness of this statement. Of course we’re not all “rich white guys.” I, in fact, am NONE of these things.
    Most gay people I know personally are not either, or at least not all three. It seems for him to make that statement (and actually be surprised) that they’ve chosen to ignore this blatant truth. I always thought it was frustrating for many gay-friendly channels, places, shows, and various other media and events to actually only be gay-man friendly, or made by affluent white gay men and so that is their intended audience.
    And now we have come full circle as to why I pour myself into Autostraddle everyday.

  5. This was a positive article, and THE SOUTH WAS INCLUDED IN THE POSITIVENESS! I live in the South (North Carolina), and it’s hardly ever the place for (good) front-line gay news. This makes me happy, because maybe things are changing faster than I thought, and maybe I won’t feel so compelled to run far away to another (seemingly) more accepting region. Despite its quirks, this is home. I actually do like it here.

  6. Guys, I just met Gary Gates yesterday at a colloquium. The article says he was using 2009 census data, but yesterday he presented these and other findings from the 2008 General Social Survey (which included a LGBT focused module, specifically on “coming out”!), not Census data. Plus, the Census only happens every ten years, the most recent being 2010. They must be referring to the American Community Survey, which is the new, better every year survey that the census BUREAU conducts, but is not the constitutionally mandated Census. So either they mean the 2009 ACS or they mean the 2010 Census.

    Ok, sorry for the social scientist freak out. Data sources are important!

    Another interesting finding Gates had using the 2008 GSS data was that those people who identified as bisexual were overwhelmingly either better educated white women or less educated minority men. However, this finding should be taken with a huge grain of salt since his sample sizes were understandably pretty small. Sigh, to have a large scale random sample of LGBT respondents. A girl can dream.

    Fun fact: Overall people who identify as LGBT are like around 4% of the population, but if you look at people who are younger like 18-29 it’s 7.2%. THE FUTURE IS GAYER.

    On a somewhat related note, I have a lawyer buddy based in Miami, FL who specializes in establishing as-close-as-Florida-will-let-you-get-to-marriage legal ties if any one is interested.

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