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March 24, 2004

Comments

trey

I tend to believe the number is much higher than 600,000, though maybe not 1.5 million. Basically from experience. We filled out a long form, and even though we are both very informed we marked 'unrelated' I believe. I think a lot of couples did either out of mistake or intentionally.
The percentages with children, 20/33 is probably relatively accurate (just from anecdotal evidence), though in the SF bay area the percentages are closer to 30/45 I believe.
And it would be at least 330,000. I think the number would be closer to 500k to 1 million children.
But of course this is all number 'nitpicking' on my part (and SSM marriage opponent's part). Whether it is 200,000 or 2 million, its a lot of children. period. And the number is growing tremendously fast.

Emilio Guerra

Thanks for the link. I myself think that making an estimate from thin air (the 5%) and then analyzing the Census data from that standpoint is no very straightforward. On the other hand, I believe there was a significant undercount.

trey

I don't think the number of "5%" was out of thin air really. It was based on the fact that 5% of voters (in the last couple elections) self-declared as gay or lesbian in exit polls. A straightforward number. Of course you could say that it was an overcount (openly gay men and women might be more likely to be politically active and vote) or an undercount (many gay men and women would be reluctant to declare themselves gay to a pollster), but the number seems reasonable based on the widely ranging estimates (2-10%) in other surveys and research have reported.

but like you said, no matter how we look at it, the 600k was an undercount.

Galois

I just want to be clear, that I didn't mean to nitpick the HRC/Urban Institute's numbers. As Trey said it's clearly a lot of children and the numbers are certainly growing fast. And the numbers are also higher in certain areas. And as I noted (and Emilio noted on his site and Trey noted personally) there was almost certainly an undercount, perhaps a large one.

I was recommending the HRC pamphlet--I think it's very well done--but I had a reservation about the number. I just wanted to clarify where the number came from. To say the number came from the census, I still find to be a little misleading. The only census number used in that estimate for the number of couples was the US adult population. That doesn't make the Urban Institute's estimate wrong, and both Trey and Emilio make a good case for believing there was a significant undercount in the census.

By the way, thank you Emilio for putting together that site and retrieving/compiling all of those numbers.

chairm

There was a campaign aimed directly at same-sex couples to report their household status in Census 2000. This more than likely offset any error toward a potential undercount.

About 173,000 same-sex households reported included children; that ought to be a fairly dependable estimate. And it represents about 12% of the 5% of adults that HRC reports as homosexual by orientation. By far, most of the childrenin these households come from previously procreative marriages. The SSM-friendly support groups for people in mixed-orientation marriages report that there are about 3 million homosexual individuals who have lived and loved within the procreative model of marriage and most of these have children. That's more homosexual adults than in same-sex union -- with or without children.

Galois

By far, most of the childrenin these households come from previously procreative marriages.

What is your basis for that claim? More importantly, what is the point of your claim?

chairm

Even the HRC and the Urban Institute do not suggest that most of these children have been adopted or have been conceived by artificial means by lesbian couples; or born into same-sex unions via surrogacy / donor arrangements.

Perhaps you have a counterclaim?

If your overall point is not related to how many homosexual couples are raising adopted children, then, presumably just one such couple would suffice for your view that the SSM model should replace the procreative model of civil marriage.

My point? There are millions of mixed-orientation marriages. But the existence of just one might suffice to show that the opposite-sex criterion for a marriage license is not prejudiced against homosexual individuals. It regulates the makeup of couples who enter the procreative model of marriage.

There are probably as many if not more homosexual adults who have brought children into this world via the now-maligned procreative model of marriage than there are individuals in same-sex couples living together with or without children. According to the gay-positive study, "Gay Men In San Francisco", 95% of homosexual male couples are childless; and 20% have been married to the opposite sex. Other reports claim that 40% of homosexual adults have been married thus; and most of this subset of the homosexual population has had children. That's millions of mixed-orientation marriages compared to a few hundred thousand same-sex households.

There's such an obvious connection between marriage and children that some SSM advocates attempt to argue both that child-raising justifies bestowing marriage status to homosexual couples AND that child-raising is just a secondary or teritiary aspect of marriage itself.

This comes across as a debating tactic meant to coerce with an appeal to emotion; and not as an effort to substantiate proposed solutions to actual problems. Generally, I give such arguments the benefit of the doubt but I do have my doubts.

The statistics suggest that maybe 30% of a third of the tiny homosexual population might benefit their children if they had access to some aspects of state support for married couples. Yet where same-sex "marriage" is lawful, only 10-15% of same-sex households obtain a marriage license.

There's a long way to go before the homosexual community can claim the SSM model to be a normative ideal in the gay community -- let alone society at large.

In this case, I'm unconvinced that the existence of one homosexual couple with children -- or several thousand -- can justify the denial of civil marriage to 100% of society and its replacement with an unproven SSM model.

There's much utility in civil marriage; and potentially much utility in same-sex civil union. The statistics point to a distinction that should not be treated lightly by those in a hurry to change the core of civil marriage just to taylor it to fit same-sex union.

Galois

Even the HRC and the Urban Institute do not suggest...

I never claimed they did, nor did I make any such claim myself. I was asking what the basis of your claim was. Is the basis just that nobody has claimed otherwise? That could be simply because we don't know how many of these children were from prior marriages.

the existence of just one [mixed-orientation] might suffice to show that the opposite-sex criterion for a marriage license is not prejudiced against homosexual individuals.

Actually one could still argue that there was a disparate impact. That being said, I have never claimed the prohibition unconstiutionally discriminates against homosexual individuals, rather I believe it unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of sex. From a policy perspective I would also argue that it is not good policy to encourage gays and lesbians into opposite-sex marriages.


There's such an obvious connection between marriage and children that some SSM advocates attempt to argue both that child-raising justifies bestowing marriage status to homosexual couples AND that child-raising is just a secondary or teritiary aspect of marriage itself.

Hey that's me! I argue that marriage is extremely valuable for child-raising which justifies allowing SSM. I also would agree that marriage is primarily about the relation between the spouses. The thing to remember is that the relation between a child's parents has a significant impact on the child. This includes the value of the parents staying together, and the ability of the parents to make decisions based on the best interest of the family. Just because an effect is indirect does not make it unimportant. I therefore find it much more important for parents to be married, then for married couples to be parents.

This comes across as a debating tactic meant to coerce with an appeal to emotion; and not as an effort to substantiate proposed solutions to actual problems.

I'm sorry if that's how it comes across to you, but this is my honest view of marriage. This view that many of the benefits of marriage for children are indirect also seems to be the view held in The Case for Marriage by Waite and Gallagher (see >my post on the book). In particular they show that many of the benefits apply to married couples without children. Likewise many of the harms of divorce on children they cite are indirect. For example, the parent will not be as well off after the divorce and this is not good for the child.

...can justify the denial of civil marriage to 100% of society and its replacement with an unproven SSM model

Actually it would be denying civil marriage to 0% of society. I'm not arguing that couples should be denied civil marriage, you are. You also mentioned eariier the much maligned procreative model. I'm not maligning any model or arguing to replace it with any other model. The laws of marriage remain the same, the only change is who may enter into it. How does the fact that two men or two women may marry change my marriage? Procreation was never a requirement of civil marriage. If marriage was "modeled" on apsects of procreation, it would still be modeled on that. As you said, the number of same-sex couples marrying will be small compared to the number of opposite-sex couples marrying, so opposite-sex marriage will still be the "norm". Yes we will be allowing non-procreative couples to marry, but we already do that.

The statistics point to a distinction..

What distinction is that?

chairm

[Ed. Note: I took the liberty of making minor HTML style changes to this comment. - Galois]

"In particular they show that many of the benefits apply to married couples without children."

These benefits are derived from men and a women bonding in marriage. Is there objective evidence that the same benefits are derived from same-sex couples living together? The health-related benefits, for example.

As for my assertion that most of the children of homosexual parents are from previous marriages, I began with basic reasoning: outside of heterosexual relations the means of acquiring children are limited and have been utilized relatively rarely. Even taking into account the possibility that homosexual adults may be over-represented in the current use of these means, it would seem unreasonable on the surface to expect that *most* of the estimated millions of homosexual parents would have had their children outside of heterosexual relations. [And I don't claim anyone here has said quite that.]

By comparison, 95% of Americans eventually marry (including many homosexual adults -- maybe 40% or more) and the vast majority of married couples have children (due to the tendency of man-woman sexual relations). Most of the children of homosexual parents have been the offspring of their procreative marriages (or cohabitations on the brink of marriage).

This is supported to some extent by various studies; I haven't analyzed all of them and don't have them at my fingertips. (This is not my primary focus). Here is one that is available on-line.

The researchers used a large sample of lesbian women. Embedded in its findings is an estimate that about 30% of lesbians have children; this roughly correlates with many Census-related analyses. Still the study is based on a non-random sample and doesn't claim to be highy precise in just what we are narrowly discussing. For what is worth, here's a quote:

Lesbian and bisexual mothers who had children before coming out differed from lesbians who had children after coming out on variables related to childbearing. The vast majority (over 90%) of women who had children before coming out had been legally married to a man at some point and had children in the context of marriage or a partnership with a man. Hardly any women who had children before coming out had had children by insemination, adoption, or foster placement or as a result of being in a relationship with a female partner who had children. In contrast, women who had children after coming out [50%] were about evenly divided between traditional and alternative methods of having children. It is interesting, however, that even among this group, a large percentage (44%) of women had children in the context of marriage or partnership with a man.

The study reported that about 12% of lesbian nonmothers had been married to a man before coming out. Also, 73% of lesbian mothers aged 30-39 and 88% aged 40-49 had their children in the context of a heterosexual relationship -- for the most part, marriage. [This data is displayed in Table 5.]

There's a countrywide network of support groups for people who have been, or still are, in mixed-orientation marriages. They say that these marriages have produced about 3 million children. There is no public policy I am aware of that encourages homosexual individuals to enter marriage with the opposite sex. The procreative model of marriage attracts them; and many benefit from it. Some do suffer and through divorce harm is done to their children; yet many also regret divorcing more than marrying in the first place. Their sexual orientation may be more fluid than most who enter marriage but that does not mean their choices are presumptively bad. In any case, mixed-orientation marraige provides a complicated and largely unstudied aspect of both human sexuality and child-rearing. There's lots to be learned before we rush to dismiss such marriages as undesirable.

I'll post again with further details to demonstrate that there are not enough same-sex households with children to account for most of the homosexual parents in the country. And that the means to acquire a child -- outside of man-woman relations -- do not account for even one-quarter of Galois' posted estimate of homosexual parents in 300,00 to 500,000 same-sex households. If there were more than estimated, the discrepancy would only be compounded further.

chairm

In this post I'll make certain assumptions that are negotiable. With each assumption the goal of the devil's advocate is to make it easier to conclude that my assertion was wrong.

That is, the figuring will be done generously so as to increase the chances that the following is not true: looking broadly at the available statistics, it is reasonable to say that most children of homosexual parents arrived and have been raised in the context of procreative marriages.

On the surface this makes sense because it has been difficult, undoubtedly, for homosexual individuals, let alone same-sex couples, to have children outside of sexual relations with the oppposite sex. But in this post I'll shoot for the more modest goal of accounting for just the children acquired by same-sex households.

Very generously we might assume that although homosexual men and women comprise 5% of the population (as per HRC), they are 20% of the parents of the children of assisted reproduction, adoption, foster-parenting, and *social* step-parenting. That's a huge over-representation but it will more vigorously test my assertion that most children of homosexual parents were derived from mixed-orientation marriages. We might assume that they are 4 times more motivated to pursue alternative methods. [It is a reach; anecdotally I know how motivated married couples are who have troubles with fertility.]

In brief: A total of 175,000 children possibly have homosexual parents. Assisted reproduction methods might account for 60,000 children; adoption, 55,000; foster-parenting, 40,000; and *social* step-parenting, 20,000.

If it were to be welcomed here, I could return to post additional details from the Census.

Now, assuming that the previously posted calculation was a reasonable estimation of the number of same-sex households with children in this country, there would be 500,000 pairs of homosexual parents. That is, 30% of 1.5 million same-sex households live with own children.

But there are only 175,000 children who might possibley have been acquired by homosexual parents outside of marriage. If we assume a ratio of one child per household, we still would need to account for at least another 325,000 children and as many households.

But, someone might say, why not simply return to the original Census estimate of 173,000 same-sex households with children? Maybe there wasn't an undercount. But that would assume there are few, if any, children produced by homosexual adults who had been married. And that there are only about 600,000 same-sex households in the first place.

Or, better yet, let's boost the percentage of same-sex households with children? Maybe the undercount was much, much greater.

But I think that speculating further would stretched credulity too far. As it is, this analysis has assumed that homosexual adults who want children would have used alternative methods at a rate that was 4 times that of heterosexual couples who experienced fertility problems during the past two decades. (Two decades, because the children counted are under 18 years of age.) That assumption is probably not valid.

Of course, there may be several thousands of homosexual parents who live with their children but have never been married to the opposite sex. But I think that they have been counted already in the generous figuring of unmarried and never married adoptive parents, foster-parents, and *social* step-parents.

The remainder (and probably millions more) can be counted among those who were previously married to the opposite sex; or gay men who are now divorced/ separated and living apart from their children; or lesbians who are divorced/ separated and have custody of their children. Many may be married still but live in the absence of an estranged husband or wife.

And many more homosexual men and women are probably still married and living with their children. And a goodly portion are probably living in the estimated 500,000 same-sex relationships with the children they had from previously procreative marriages.

In any case, most of the children of homosexual parents began life as the progeny of the procreative model of marriage. It is the normative ideal across society. And it is this model that government acknowledges with civil marriage. The State regulates the parameters of a non-governmental social institution; it does not create the core of that institution through legislation, court order, or novel administrative decisions.

Marriage is not a universal right. And the State does not ask any comers to declare their sexual orientation. [I'll review Galolis' previous postings on rights re sex rather than orientation.]

On the other hand, society, through the State, might recognize a new normative ideal among same-sex couples: but what is the model? Is it child-centered or adult-centered? Is it attractive to most, if not all, homosexual adults?

Galois

Chairm,

That's an interesting article to which you link. Thanks. I was not surprised to read that the number of lesbians coming out before having children is growing. The numbers you gave for adoptions etc. were also interesting. I gather that you took raw numbers from the 2000 Census and then multiplied by .8, is that correct?

Be careful, though, sometimes you seem to be trying to demonstrate your original claim that "by far most of the children" in these same-sex households with children in the census come from previous marriages. At other times, though, you seem instead to be trying to demonstrate the majority of children of homosexual parents came from prior marriages. Those are two distinct claims.

In any case, I am still unclear as to your larger point. If it is that a significant percentage of homosexuals are capable of entering an opposite-sex marriage and conceiving a child, I would concede that. That claim does nothing to dissuade me from my belief that permitting same-sex marriage is both demanded by constitutional principles, and just plain good policy being good for children, gays, and all of society.

To answer your questions...

Is there objective evidence that the same benefits are derived from same-sex couples living together?

Not that I am aware. Nor is there evidence of these benefits arising from opposite-sex couples living together. On the contrary these benfits arise from marriage and not merely cohabitation. Yes there have been no studies of same-sex marriage because it has only recently come into existence. That being said when you look at the mechanisms for how marriage is beneficial, those benefits are not gender dependent. (See, for example, this post).

On the other hand, society, through the State, might recognize a new normative ideal among same-sex couples: but what is the model? Is it child-centered or adult-centered? Is it attractive to most, if not all, homosexual adults?

It seems the person who wants to develop the new model should answer that. I want to use the current model we have, marriage. Not something new. I would say marriage is neither child-centered nor adult-centered. It is family centered. I have no idea whether it is attractive to most homosexual adults, what's important is that it is attractive to at least some. I wouldn't dare use the fact that some may not want to marry to deny marriage to those that do. Interestingly the same type of argument was used to try to keep both blacks and women out of law schools and other schools of higher education. They said most blacks [women] have no interest in going to law school so there is no need to accomodate those that do.

chairm

Galois, I'd respond to your other comments but for now I'll stick to the statistics as this thread began with a discussion of the HRC analysis of the Census estimates of same-sex households.

Unfortunately for our purposes, the Census has not counted parents by sexual orientation; nor has it counted the children of homosexual parents on the basis of how the parents acquired their children. So we are left with the need to extract, by hook and by crook, the picture of homosexual parentage from various sources on assisted reproduction, adoption, step-parenting, and foster-parenting. The result of my calculation is an incomplete picture and not definitive by any measure. Perhaps it would be best to charactize this as a series of guesstimates based on reasonable assumptions.

chairm

Rather than attempt to count all homosexual parents (and attempt to figure out how they acquired their children), my calculations attempted to identify a pool of children who 1) have been acquired by their parents outside of the context of marriage and 2) whose parents are homosexual, too.

Against that calculation there is the Census count of same-sex households with children: 173,000. Galois has suggested that there was an undercount that calls for an adjusted count of 500,000. (I don't necessarily agree with this adjustment but that's another discussion). At first I assumed a ratio of one child per household. Perhaps a more realistic ratio is 1.5 child per household i.e. 750,000 children.

These households probably represent neither all homosexual parents nor all of their children. Some parents may be living as single moms and single dads - with or without their children; and many may be living in marriages with the opposite sex. Still, a count of 750,000 children can serve as the currently useful estimate. (Again, I think this may be an overadjustment but will use it for the sake of discussion).

I've attempted to calculate the number of children whose parents acquired them through adoption, foster-parenting, step-parenting, and assisted reproduction. Then I assumed that 5% of these children had a homosexual parent. That is just a reflection of the HRC assumption that 5% of the adult population is comprised of homosexual men and women. Perhaps this should be adjusted depending on the category.

And then I padded the result arbitrarily. The purpose was not to pretend there were more children of homosexual parents, but to err on the side of testing my original assertion. Thus, the result will have two numbers per category: the one that results from the 5% assumption; and the one that results of inflating the first result by a factor of at least 4.

chairm

To emphasize again: these are very broadstrokes and one should not consider the results to be highly accurate. I simply tested the assertion that most children of homosexual parents were derived in the context of marriage with the opposite sex; so I calculated the population of children who had been derived outside of marriage through alternative routes.

In the process these rough statistics will hopefully provide a little more insight into the possible shape of homosexual parentage in our society.

I'll post separately for each category. But the end result (slightly different from my earlier post) is that there's a pool of about 185,000 children who *might possibly* have homosexual parents who acquired their children through alternative means.

chairm

According to my calculations, at most there is a pool of about 47,000 to 185,000 children who might have homosexual parents who acquired their children through alternative means. But this is a well-padded number based on the following calculations for adoption, assisted reproduction, step-parenting, and foster-parenting. Call it a guesstimate based on available data.

Assisted reproduction: 15,000 children.

For this category we need to go to a source other than the Census Bureau. The CDC reports suggest about 300 children have been born through these alternative techniques. Assume a ratio of 1.5 children per household. Apply 5% to the subgroup and that produces 10,000 households with 15,000 children.

Adoption: 7,000 children.

According to the 2000 Census, there are 1.6 million adopted children (under the age of 18) living with their parents. About 140,000 reside with adoptive parents who cohabitate with unmarried partners or who have never married. Assume ratio of 1.5 children per household; and apply 5% to the subgroup.

Foster-parenting: 10,000 children.

At any given time, about 200,000 foster children live in the homes of non-relatives. Assume a ratio of 1.5 children per household. Assume 5% of this category are homes run by homosexual parents. Note that many foster-children are later adopted, frequently by their foster-parents. So there may be some overlap.

Social step-parenting: 15,000 children.

The Census counts about 3.3 million stepchildren of householders. The Bureau says that some portion of these householders may be *social* step-parents rather than legal step-parents. That is, they cohabitate with unmarried partners and their children. They are not step-parents in a legal sense because there's no marriage.

The *social* step-parent category is comprised of 264,000 children living in homes where the male householders reported stepchildren; and 42,500 children in the home of female householders. Assume a ratio of 1.5 children per household. Perhaps 5% of this category are homosexual step-parents.

In sum: possible pool of 47,000 children live in about 32,000 households of homosexual parents who have acquired their children with alternate methods.

[If you like, I can pack-up links to the on-line sources an put them in a single post later.]

As I posted earlier, the Census reported 173,000 same-sex households. Assuming 1.5 children per household, this group has 260,000 children. And that would mean that less than 20% of these children have come from outside marriage with the opposite sex. Interestingly it looks like 1 in 5 same-sex households with children may have used alternate means to acquire their children.

However, as per Galois' adjusted count based on HRC's look at the Census, there may be as many as 500,000 same-sex couples with children. Assuming 1.5 children per household, that would represent about 750,000 children.

Even if my calculation were padded by a factor of 4, it would produce around 185,000 children; that's about 25% of children parented by homosexual men and women.

It appears that by far most of the children of homosexual men and women came from the context of previously procreative marriages. Of course, this does not take into account the estimated millions of mixed-orientation marriages with children; or the divorced moms and dads from such marriages.

I think this demonstrates at least 3 things. 1) Many homosexual individuals have had children through the procreative model of marriage; 2) these birthparents are capable of parenting their own children -- and many have non-related children (prior to adoption, foster-parenting, and social step-parenting); and there appears to be an emerging model for same-sex couples who aspire to become parents through alternate routes of acquiring children.

This does not convince me that marriage must be re-written to suite same-sex union. [I'd comment on Galois' remarks -- in a day or two].

Galois

Just a few quick notes.

1. There is no need (as far as I am concerned) for you to post links to those raw numbers.

2. I never suggested how big the undercount was. I said we don't know so I was using Census numbers as a minimum. That was the number I gave of 330,000 children.

3. The census gives a number around 2 children per same-sex household with children. See the PUMS data I linked to in the original post and check the chart on # of children.

4. You changed your method in the adoption category. In the others you looked at gays as 5% of the whole, and then multiplied by a factor of 4. With 1.6 million adopted children that would give a number of 320,000. Instead you took the number of adopted children who live in unmarried household--which is probably a better number to work with--but now your estimate of 5% is way off. I believe the census gives that 12% of cohabiting couples are same-sex households. But if we are given that a child is adopted and living in an unmarried household, I would expect the chance of the household being same-sex is much higher since an opposite-sex household planning to adopt is far more likely to marry.

5. Still, that being said I would agree with the three larger points you claim.

6. I would just note that I don't believe SSM is rewriting marriage. The only change is who may marry whom, not any of the laws that apply to each married couple after they wed. Compare this to no-fault divorce or polygamy, for example, which change the after-wedding rules. (The former by making it easier to divorce, the latter by allowing a person to rewed without divorce).

Galois, thanks for the formatting edits. And for your comments. Sorry for the mixup with the HRC-related estimate; my mistake.

Regarding the adoption category, I had drilled down a notch or two because there was more data available. Not so for assisted reproduction and foster-parenting. But you'll notice I narrowed things for social step-parents since by definition it refers to unmarried households.

Still you offer a valid assumption: that unmarried couples might tend to marry with the arrival of their first child. There is empircal evidence of that very thing. So the same might apply with their adoption of a first child. Thus same-sex couples might adopt at a higher rate than opposite-sex unmarried couples. Of course, the same limiting condition would presumably be applicable to lesbians and gay men -- establishing a coupled home prior to adopting. Perhaps we need to determine a factor that reflects a difference in rates. You've suggested that we calculate that 12% of adopted children in unmarried households are living in same-sex households.

A few caveats.

Almost half of "unmarried opposite-sex couples with children" live in blended families where divorced parents already have children. The Census Bureau notes that people report legal adoptions and *informal* adoptions. Likewise with legal-steparenting and *social* step-parenting. And both overlap foster-parenting. To some extent it might be better for our purposes to fold these categories into one. I havent' done so but it might be a good idea.

But first, perhaps, we might attempt to distinguish the count of "official" relationships from the "unofficial". Then, your assumption about the difference between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples can be taken into account.

chairm

According to court records, about half of legal adoptions take place where the adoptive parent is already related to the child through marriage or kinship. This intersects with a large portion of stepchildren reported in the Census. About 1/4 of foster-children are placed with relatives who subsequently legally adopt them. These distinctions reduce the pool of children who would have been reported by same-sex households. So we need to narrow things a bit further.

For example, according to the Census, "Most of the 271,000 unmarried male householders who reported having stepchildren in their households also had a female unmarried partner (198,000)." That points to many people considering themselves to be the *social* step-parents of the children of their partners even when they are not married. But what about the other 73,000 of these unmarried male householders? Maybe they have children from a previous partner; some live as single parents; maybe there's confusion about the terminology; and maybe this accounts for a large portion of the 66,000 male same-sex households that included children.

Likewise, divorced lesbians probably serve as a major source of the children reported by 96,000 same-sex households. Their families would be blended in a social sense like milions of unmarried step-families. The tiny segment of same-sex households with children are a drop in the bucket of 72.1 million children reported in the Census. When considering the stats for same-sex households, we need to keep in mind that the sampling data is subject to errors and such errors tend to be exacerbated when applied to tiny samples spread across the country.

chairm

As I said, there's lots of overlap in the reporting of step-parenting, adoption, and foster-parenting. Still children have been counted on the whole -- no matter how we might slice them into different (and useful) categories.

I'm not sure that the child per household is 2 in general. For these categories I think the ratio is 1.5:1 -- or lower for unmarried households.

Anyway, if we narrow the count to the adoption of unrelated children, and take into consideration the obstacles that homosexual indivividuals have faced when formally adopting unrelated children, I'd tend to call it a wash. But let's stick with your assumption and consider how to quantify the difference.

You suggested that we calculate the number of adopted children in same-sex households on the basis of the percentage of same-sex households (you posted 12% but it is less than 11%) among unmarried couples. But that doesn't reflect where children live in general and probably not in terms of adoption.

There are 27.2 million households with children where the householder lives with spouse or partner. In coupled households with children, 92% of the parents are married and 8% are unmarried. Same-sex couples comprise about one-half of 1% of coupled households with children. And some portion of that represents adoptive parents.

Among unmarried households, opposite-sex homes include children at a significantly lower rate than do man-woman homes (married or unmarried). To put it another way: where there are 200 couples living with children, just one would be a same-sex couple. It doesn't seem reasonable to boost the adoption rate for same-sex couples by 1000%.

Remember, married couples have taken the largest portion of adopted children during the past 2 decades (we've been using the Census count of children aged 18 and under.) When I started with 140,000 adopted children in unmarried households, it was to narrow the search for homosexual parents to where they might best be found. We are using very broad brushstrokes to calculate a small populaton based on indirect information.

The 5% factor I used was already a significant boost to the calculation of homosexual parents who have adopted children. The additional padding is just to test the assertion that the largest portion of children living with homosexual parents are the offspring of now-dissolved marriages.

But it seems we agree on that original assertion. Going deeper might take us too far into the weeds for a broader discussion of the principles both pro and con for SSM.

chairm

Correction: I said,

<"Among unmarried households, opposite-sex homes include children at a significantly lower rate than do man-woman homes (married or unmarried)."

Of course, I meant to say,

>"Among unmarried households, same-sex homes include children at a significantly lower rate than do opposite-sex couples (where the rate is almost the same as with married couples)."

chairm

Just to add to what I mentioned earlier:

[QUOTE]You suggested that we calculate the number of adopted children in same-sex households on the basis of the percentage of same-sex households (you posted 12% but it is less than 11%) among unmarried couples. But that doesn't reflect where children live in general and probably not in terms of adoption.[/QUOTE]

Same-sex households *with children* comprise less than 7% of unmarried households *with children*. About half of such households have just one child.

Granted, I'm guesstimating, but I think that calculating the number of children in same-sex homes (adopted, step-parented, and foster-parented, and those conceived with assisted reproduction techniques) on the basis of 5% of unmarried households is pretty fair and may provide quite a bit of padding, too. As I've hinted, I also think the count of same-sex households with children in the Census could be an over-count. The national average percentage may seem low in parts of the country, like San Francisco for example, but I'd be very surprised if the proportion in next census changes drastically. The estimate of a 65% undercount is very, very far off, I think, but even that would amount to a few hundred thousand. Meanwhile ther are millions of children being raised in mixed-orientation marriages and in single-parent homes.

chairm

That is, single parent homes with homosexual parents now divorced.

mikey

Just one quick point to make. If we are to permit a marriage according to someone's convenience or in other words, his or her choice of sexual orientation such as in the case of homosexuality, then who are we to deny pedafiles their right to their sexual orientation with and consequent marriage to children or those who find beasteality to be their sexual preference their right to marry the beast of their life? Sexual preferance in other than heterosexual relationships will never constitute acceptance in the eyes of our maker.

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