The May 2012 issue of EBONY drops today with a brilliant cover editorial on Michelle Obama. The print edition includes a special eight-page report on motherhood that begins on page 120. Included are two features written by yours truly including "She Calls Us Both Mom" on page 126, a profile of a lesbian mother.
New data show that hate crimes have soared in the state but the vast majority of its counties have "failed" to file any reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
Hate crimes in Mississippi rose from two to 11 over the past year, an FBI report released Monday shows. But in Mississippi and nationally, human rights activists say reported numbers of hate crimes are a fraction of reality. ...
Nsombi Lambright, executive director for the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she also believes the number of hate crimes in Mississippi is much higher than the FBI report suggests. Sometimes victims won't report the crimes "because they are scared of retaliation," she said. "You also have counties that are not reporting the incidents."
Of the 63 participating agencies in Mississippi, Gulfport was the only one to report a hate crime in 2010. More than two-thirds of Mississippi's counties failed to file a report with the Justice Department.
Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, believes the "real level is about 200,000 hate crimes a year."
About 7700 offenses were reported nationwide in 2010 as a result of bias toward race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or disability, according to the FBI. "47.3 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.0 percent were motivated by a religious bias, 19.3 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias."
James C. Anderson died on the morning of June 26 in a Jackson motel parking lot. The 48-year-old Anderson had a long-term male partner of almost two decades and they were raising a daughter.
Anderson's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in September against the seven white teenagers that police say were involved in the gruesome crime. Anderson's long-term partner is prevented by Mississippi law and the Defense of Marriage Act from joining the legal action. Anderson's partner was also prevented by Mississippi law from making end of life decisions.
A growing multitude of American children [are] being raised by gay and lesbian parents, often without all the legal protections afforded to mom-and-dad households. Increasingly, the welfare of these children will be a core part of gay-rights strategies, as evidenced by a comprehensive report [released] Tuesday. Compiled by an alliance of advocacy and child-welfare groups, it summarizes how laws and social stigma create distinctive challenges for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families.
"There are myriad ways that our families are discounted by government at all levels, and children are hurt the most," said Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council, one of the three groups authoring the report.
The report estimates that about 2 million children are being raised by same-sex parents. The report builds on data released by the Census Bureau on same-sex couples, income, education and housing.
Among the obstacles faced:
—Many government safety net programs use definitions of family tied to marital status which may exclude same-sex partners. —Because of lack of legal recognition for their unions, gay and lesbian parents can face heavier tax burdens, higher costs for health insurance, and diminished financial protections in the event of death or disability. —When same-sex parents separate, one parent may lose custody or visitation rights, even in cases where he or she had been a child's primary caregiver.
Overshadowing all these problems is "pervasive social stigma," notes the report.
The AP notes: "The families are striking for their diversity —encompassing many low-income and minority households, and spread across about 96 percent of America's counties." New data show that same-sex couples raising children are more than likely to be Black and live in the South. These are also states that offer the least legal protections for same-sex couples and families. This was in our special for the October 2011 EBONY: "Making It Work: Black Same Sex Couples Raising Kids in the South."
According to revised estimates from the 2010 Census, there were 131,729 same-sex married couple households and 514,735 same-sex unmarried partner households in the United States.
The results of the 2010 Census revised estimates are closer to the results of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) for same-sex married and unmarried partners. The 2010 ACS estimated same-sex married couples at 152,335 and same-sex unmarried partners at 440,989. ...
Statistics on same-sex couple households are derived from two questions on the census and ACS questionnaire: relationship to householder and the sex of each person. When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 Census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners. Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples in particular is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-sex married partners.
The Census Bureau adds: "The 2010 Census preferred estimates have been peer-reviewed by Gary Gates, a demographer with the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, by Philip Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and by Megan Sweeney, professor of sociology at UCLA. These experts concluded the methodology behind these revised estimates was sound."
The Williams Institute conducted a survey of same-sex couples immediately after Census 2010 showing that most same-sex couples who described themselves as spouses are in legally recognized relationships, but not all are actually married. The analyses suggest that approximately 70% reported that they were legally married, and another 15% said that they were in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. The remaining 15% indicated that while they were not actually in a legally recognized relationship, they considered themselves to be spouses.
Same-sex couples can marry in six states and the District of Columbia. Thirteen states offer non-marital forms of relationship recognition like civil unions or registered domestic partnership.
The Williams Institute estimates that about 50,000 same-sex couples have married in the following states, and in the following numbers: Massachusetts (2004-2009) 16,129; California (2008) 18,000; Connecticut (2008-2010) 6,752; Iowa (2009-2010) 2,099; Vermont (2009-2010) 1,425; New Hampshire (2010) 1,805; District of Columbia (2010) 3,500. Data on marriages in New York are not yet available. In addition, as many as 30,000 same-sex couples may have been married outside of the US. The Williams Institute also estimates that approximately 100,000 same-sex couples are in non-marital forms of relationship recognition like civil unions and registered domestic partnerships.
The October 2011 issue of EBONY drops today. Included is our first report for the magazine "Making It Work: Black Same Sex Couples Raising Kids in the South." The article is page 80 of the print edition.