Thursday, April 10th, 2014
A baby born in Tennessee last week made history when, for the first time, her state birth certificate listed women in both the “mother” and “father” categories. Reuters has more on the same-sex couple who fought in court for the milestone:
The marital status of the baby’s parents was the subject of a flurry of court filings up to a few days before her birth. Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty were wed in New York, a state that recognizes gay marriage, and moved to Tennessee, which does not.
They are among scores of same-sex couples who, working with advocacy groups, have filed lawsuits to expand gay-marriage rights following a major U.S. Supreme Court decision last June allowing federal tax and other benefits for same-sex married couples.
Depending on the pace of rulings, as early as next year Tanco and Jesty’s case or a similar challenge could reach the Supreme Court. Since the court’s June decision in U.S. v. Windsor, about 50 such cases have been filed, in nearly all 33 states that prohibit gay marriage.
So far, the eight federal judges who have ruled citing Windsor have sided with the same-sex couples, saying the states may not treat same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex ones. All of those cases are on appeal.
On Thursday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will begin hearing cases involving Utah and Oklahoma. In May, the 4th Circuit will hear a dispute from Virginia.
As Tanco approached her due date, a Nashville federal judge in mid-March issued a preliminary injunction forcing Tennessee to honor their marriage. The state appealed to the 6th Circuit.
It is possible a ruling against the couple could void Emilia’s birth certificate and require that it be reissued with only Tanco listed. A spokeswoman for Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the state Health Department, which oversees birth certificates.
But for now, says Jesty, “It gives me strength.”
Image: Women holding hands, via Shutterstcok
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Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
The Disney Channel has introduced a lesbian couple who are parents to a child named Taylor on the show “Good Luck Charlie,” featuring same-sex parents for the first time on the network. More from Jezebel.com:
“This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors,” a Disney Channel spokesperson [said in June, when the decision was first announced]. “Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”
The conservative parenting organization One Million Moms has posted a statement disagreeing with Disney’s decision, stating in part:
Disney should stick to entertaining instead of pushing an agenda. Disney decided to be politically correct versus providing family-friendly programming. Disney has a choice whether to produce a program with certain fictional characters; the storyline could be re-written or changed. Conservative families need to urge Disney to exclude confusing topics that children are far too young to comprehend.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus, who got her start in show business on the hit Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana,” posted a tweet congratulating Disney for its decision: “I commend Disney for making this step into the light of this generation,” she said.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
The American family is more diverse than ever–even compared to the changing landscape of the past few years with a rise in same-sex marriages, adoptions, and trans-racial families–according to researchers who follow census data on family structure. More from The New York Times:
“This churning, this turnover in our intimate partnerships is creating complex families on a scale we’ve not seen before,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s a mistake to think this is the endpoint of enormous change. We are still very much in the midst of it.”
Yet for all the restless shape-shifting of the American family, researchers who comb through census, survey and historical data and conduct field studies of ordinary home life have identified a number of key emerging themes.
Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.
In increasing numbers, blacks marry whites, atheists marry Baptists, men marry men and women women, Democrats marry Republicans and start talk shows. Good friends join forces as part of the “voluntary kin” movement, sharing medical directives, wills, even adopting one another legally.
Single people live alone and proudly consider themselves families of one — more generous and civic-minded than so-called “greedy marrieds.”
“There are really good studies showing that single people are more likely than married couples to be in touch with friends, neighbors, siblings and parents,” said Bella DePaulo, author of “Singled Out” and a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
But that doesn’t mean they’ll be single forever. “There are not just more types of families and living arrangements than there used to be,” said Stephanie Coontz, author of the coming book “Intimate Revolutions,” and a social historian at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. “Most people will move through several different types over the course of their lives.”
At the same time, the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in America — but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite.
“We’re seeing a class divide not only between the haves and the have-nots, but between the I do’s and the I do nots,” Dr. Coontz said. Those who are enjoying the perks of a good marriage “wouldn’t stand for any other kind,” she said, while those who would benefit most from marital stability “are the ones least likely to have the resources to sustain it.”
Image: Multi-colored picket fence, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Jenna Wolfe, the weekend anchor for NBC’s Today Show, has made two big announcements this week–that she is a lesbian in a relationship with NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, and that Wolfe is expecting the couple’s first child, a girl, in August. More from PEOPLE.com:
“This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us,” the Today weekend anchor tells PEOPLE exclusively in its new issue. “But I don’t want to bring my daughter into a world where I’m not comfortable telling everyone who I am and who her mother is.”
“The beauty is that we live in a time where there’s no need for secrecy,” Gosk, 40, adds. “This is a spectacular moment for us.”
Together for three years, the pair began discussing starting a family and after deciding Wolfe would carry the child, underwent artificial insemination with an anonymous donor.
Image: Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk, via NBC News
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