Dear libertarian Bruce Majors at Big Homo posted about a Washington Post piece in August on the release of Census Bureau results on the number of gay couples in Maryland and Virginia (the results on D.C. came out a week later). I recommend clicking to read the whole thing, but here’s a sample:
[Washington Post, Aug. 10, 2011, “Census shows surge in gay couples in D.C. area; officials cite more honesty“] The number of people who identify themselves as part of a same-sex couple has soared over the past decade in what demographers say is the product of an aggressive outreach effort by the Census Bureau and growing cultural acceptance.
Census figures released Thursday show 17,000 same-sex couples live in Maryland, a 51 percent increase over a decade ago. That accounts for 1.5 percent of couples in the state, including married couples and heterosexual partners living together.
In Virginia, the census counted 20,500 same-sex couples, a 49 percent increase that amounts to 1.2 percent of couples in the state.
Del. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick) said the numbers reinforce one of the arguments he and other opponents of same-sex marriage have been making.
“We’re talking about radically redefining marriage for what is a very, very small subset,” he said.
My reaction to Del. Hough is that since marriage equality won’t change his own marriage, or anyone else’s, or force any religion to change its definition of marriage, and the subset is small, then he is making the argument in favor of marriage equality, not against it. Marriage equality defined by the state is required to ensure religious freedom — which is why religions are trying to grab the power to be the sole definers of marriage from the state. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if you paired any other minority or religious group with numbers like “1.5 percent,” Del. Hough would be consumed with zeal to protect their rights from threats by a majority to force them into second-class citizenship because they are “a very, very small subset.” And, just to remind you, when the legislature has been co-opted into violating the rights of a minority, thanks to our system of balance of powers, it is the judicial branch that steps in. When it does, it is doing a job it was created to do, not legislating from the bench.
State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery), an openly gay man raising two children with his partner, said the statistics show how many people might choose to marry if it becomes legal.
“It demonstrates that there are a significant number of same-gender families in our state, and we are everywhere in the state,” he said. “It also shows that in the end, we’re not talking about a lot of people. The other side’s predictions of doom and gloom are oversized.”
Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery), a gay lawmaker who has a wife, said the census numbers show the changing face of what is now considered family.
“There are 9,000 Maryland children that have two moms or two dads, that are looking to the General Assembly and saying, ‘Protect my family, like everyone else’s,’ ” she said.
By the way, not only do same-sex couples need to carry healthcare powers-of-attorney on them at all time — which I did for my late life partner, who was quadriplegic the last 10 years of her life due to MS — but also they need to have proof of their authority to care for and transport their same-sex spouse’s biological child. Without it, if they are stopped by the police for so much as a burned-out tail light, they will have to wait at the police station until the biological parent can verify they were lawfully accompanying the child.