A new report released Tuesday suggests there may be as many as two million children being raising by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered parents—often without the legal rights granted to traditional heterosexual families.
“There are myriad ways that our families are discounted by government at all levels, and children are hurt the most,” Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council, one of the three groups authoring “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families,” told the AP’s David Crary. The FEC co-produced the report with The Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project.
Among the report’s findings:
*LGBT parents face a heavier tax burden and higher health-insurance costs.
*Many government programs aimed at families are tied to marital status, which may exclude same-sex partners.
*When a LGBT couple divorces or separates, a nonbiological or non-adoptive parent may lose custody or visitation rights.
There is also the notable social stigma children of gay and lesbian families encounter. “Many of the challenges LGBT families face stem from a society that assumes that everyone is heterosexual and comes from a family with two married heterosexual parents,” reads the report, which also details numerous ways legal burdens can be alleviated.
Lisa Polyak, chair of the statewide gay-rights group Equality Maryland and a parent herself, says this isn’t a partisan issue. “If you care about children, you should care that the parents don’t have the legal tools to take the best care of them.”