- The Washington Times - Monday, November 15, 2004

Same-sex “marriage” has been legal in Massachusetts for about six months, but research on the topic likely will remain scarce for a while because the state’s Department of Public Health does not plan to release any data on the couples for at least a year.

Recent studies and press reports offer only a few contemporary glimpses into same-sex “marriage.” For instance, it appears that lesbians are more likely to want to “marry” than homosexual men. Lesbian couples also are more likely to have children in the home than are male couples.

Early tallies of same-sex “marriages” in Massachusetts, plus the unions performed illegally by local officials in California, Oregon and other states, indicate that nearly 11,000 couples lined up for marriage licenses this year. This is about 2 percent of the 594,391 same-sex partnered homes in the United States that the 2000 census found.

The U.S. Census Bureau also counted 415,970 children living in same-sex-couple households — a minuscule figure compared with activist groups’ estimate of 6 million to 14 million children living with a homosexual parent.

Same-sex “marriage” is, “at best, a vast, untested social experiment and we have no idea what the outcome will be,” said Bill Maier, vice president of Focus on the Family and co-author of the book, “Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting.”

Public policy should look at what’s best for society, he said, and on issues for which the outcome isn’t at all clear, “we have to move forward with caution.”

Vermont’s civil unions, which started in 2000, are the closest proxy for understanding what homosexual “marriage” would look like in the nation.

A study conducted in 2000 and 2001 provides a look at 335 of Vermont’s “pioneer” civil-union couples, said University of Vermont psychology professor Esther D. Rothblum, a co-author of the study.

For instance, she said in a recent interview, regardless of whether they were males or females, same-sex couples typically were in their 40s and had obtained high levels of education, had higher-than-average incomes and had a preference for nontraditional or no religious beliefs.

The typical civil-union couple also had been romantically involved with each other for more than 10 years. These couples “weren’t newlyweds,” said Ms. Rothblum, noting that more than 70 percent of the couples owned homes together and more than 80 percent had joint bank accounts.

Vermont data — as well as anecdotal evidence from this year — show that lesbians are far more interested in legally uniting than men.

In Massachusetts, surveys by the Boston Globe and Mass Equality, a homosexual-rights group, estimated that two-thirds of that state’s same-sex “marriage” licenses went to lesbians. The Globe said at least 2,500 couples signed up for licenses when they became legal in May. An unknown number have been issued since then, although the Globe recently reported that some areas average two application requests per week.

Nationally, the 2000 census found that 34 percent of lesbian couples and 22 percent of male couples had children younger than age 18 living with them.

The Vermont study found that 34 percent of the 212 lesbians in civil unions and 18 percent of the homosexual men in unions had children.

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