Anti-Gay Laws Hurt the Children of LGBT Americans

posted on Fri, Jan 27 2012 2:12 pm by LezGetReal

Conservatives often talk about the damage that not having one mother and one father does to a child, and yet, it is those very laws and ordinances that they push to punish homosexuality that create the damage to the children that they decry. Simply put, being lesbian or gay is not what harms children, it is the laws that make life hard for LGBT parents that makes life hard for children.

A press release from Children Matter states:

“Strengthening Economic Security for Children Living in LGBT Families”,describes how antiquated and discriminatory laws increase poverty for children with LGBT parents, and can be especially harmful for children living in low-income households. Today’s release is the latest in a series of reports co-authored by Movement Advancement Project, the Family Equality Council, and the Center for American Progress, in partnership with the National Association of Social Workers. It is a companion report to “All Children Matter,” which paints one of the most comprehensive portraits to date of LGBT families in America and how outdated laws make it harder for children with LGBT parents to achieve three major needs: economic security; stable, loving homes; and, health and well-being. Both reports are available online at www.children-matter.org.

AMERICA’S FAMILIES ARE CHANGING

“Our laws and economic policies need to reflect the reality of today’s families – especially those families led by parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council. “Overall, LGBT families are twice as likely to be living in poverty as married, opposite-sex couples.”

Current trends also show the following:

- Approximately 2 million children are being raised by LGBT parents.
- Children of same-sex couples live in 96% of U.S. counties.
- Gay and lesbian couples are most likely to raise children in the South. The highest percentage of families are in Mississippi, followed by Wyoming, Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Montana, South Dakota, and South Carolina.
- LGBT families are more racially and ethnically diverse than the population as a whole, and same-sex couples of color raising children are more likely to be poor than white same-sex couples raising children.

EXTRA SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COSTS FOR LGBT FAMILIES

Strengthening Economic Security for Children Living in LGBT Families illustrates how LGBT families face economic burdens that most families do not.

“Public policy should be based on reality. Our nation’s reality is that gay and transgender people are forming families and raising kids. It’s time for our laws to reflect this fact and make sure LGBT families do not face unnecessary obstacles to achieving their economic security,” said Jeff Krehely, director of the LGBT Communications and Research Project at the Center for American Progress.

Some of the most common extra economic burdens faced by LGBT families include:

- Lack of legal protections. Because same-sex couples cannot marry, children in LGBT families often have legal ties to only one parent. Althouh legal documents can help create some protections, they are costly and usually inadequate.
- Higher taxes. LGBT families cannot file joint federal tax returns and are often denied child-related tax deductions and credits. As a result, many LGBT families pay higher taxes.
- Reduced access to health benefits. Because employers are not required to extend coverage to children without legal ties to their parents, LGBT families may be forced to buy coverage privately for their children or go without.
- Lack of access to safety net programs. Programs designed to support families during difficult economic times often treat LGBT families families inconsistently or exclude them completely. As a result, children fall through the safety net when they most need help, including when a parent dies or becomes disabled.

An excerpt from the article by Bridgette LaVictoire. Read the full article here.