Think New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are the gay bastions of America? They might be — for single people. But it’s the South — in cities like Jacksonville, Florida, and Jackson, Mississippi — that are more likely to have gays raising children, a new analysis of recent Census Bureau data reveals, according to the Times. How come?
[C]hild rearing among same-sex couples is more common in the South than in any other region of the country, according to Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles. Gay couples in Southern states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England.
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.” Black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children, according to Mr. Gates, who used data from a Census Bureau sampling known as the American Community Survey. They are also more likely than their white counterparts to be struggling economically.
Experts offer theories for the pattern. A large number of gay couples, possibly a majority, entered into their current relationship after first having children with partners in heterosexual relationships, Mr. Gates said. That seemed to be the case for many blacks and Latinos in Jacksonville, for whom church disapproval weighed heavily.
Which means that even an absence of laws protecting gay families against discrimination, or simply allowing them to file state taxes together, is going to keep gay families from existing. Ponder that, Marco Rubio! Plus, the weather is nicer. Couple this data with recent polling that shows Latinos are among the country’s biggest gay marriage supporters, and I’d hazard a guess that, yes, knowing gay families encourages people to support their rights.
Are you a gay parent living in the South? Tell us about the level of acceptance you’ve experienced.