The Williams Institute, housed within the UCLA School of Law, released the results of a study yesterday that showed 26 percent of same-sex couples in the Salt Lake City metro area are raising children, making the Wasatch Front first in the nation for same-sex couples who choose to adopt and raise a child in a metro area of one million or more.
Interestingly, eight of the top ten highest metro areas to have same-sex couples with children are in states that have passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
The second highest metro area was Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News (VA/NC) with 24 percent of same sex couples with children, followed by Detroit-Warren-Livonia (MI), Memphis (TN/MS/AR), and San Antonio-New Braunfels (TX) each at 22 percent. Baltimore-Towson (MD) showed that 20 percent of same-sex couples in that region had children while Columbus (OH), Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford (CT), Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (TX), and Oklahoma City (OK) each came in at 19 percent of same-sex couples have children.
A complete list of top metro areas can be found here.
“Research consistently shows that same-sex couples raise children all across the country,” said Williams Institute public policy research fellow, Angeliki Kastanis. “This analysis underscores the fact that recognition of LGBT families is a consequential policy question in every state.”
In 2004, Utah voters passed Amendment 3, banning same sex couples from obtaining marriages or civil unions, by a nearly two-to-one margin. The change to the state constitution says marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman and that no other domestic union would be recognized as a marriage for legal purposes. During the 2013 legislative session, Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D- Salt Lake City) proposed HB 214 – Adoption Modifications, a bill that would have set Utah’s adoption rules back to standards set before the 2000 legislative session – thus allowing unmarried couples to adopt children. The bill did not progress beyond initial introduction.
Utah’s laws currently bar same sex couples from marriage, civil unions, and adoption. The state legislature has also refused to pass a “non-discrimination law,” which would make it illegal for an employer or a landlord to fire someone from their job, or evict them from their home, just because they are gay.