If you're a gay man trying to score, Provincetown, Chelsea, and San Francisco are still go-to destinations, but if you're trying to settle down with a family, try Jacksonville, FL or San Antonio, TX. A New York Times article, out today, is reporting that the latest numbers from the Census Bureau show that there are more gay couples raising families in the South than anywhere else in the country. In San Antonio, thirty-four percent of gay couples have children and in Jacksonville, it's thirty-two percent. Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, are other states mentioned with high rates of gay families.
What's surprising about this data is how overwhelmingly conservative that region is, specifically Florida, where adoption is limited to married heterosexual couples and same-sex marriage is banned. Yet, there is something apt about the traditionally family-oriented South having the highest rates of gay families. While those interviewed for the article suggest the data has to do with men and women coming out of the closet after years of marriage and babies, I think this is a good opportunity to see how in society, certain cultural norms win out over others, no matter what. The phrase "family values" has long been associated with the South and I don't think that's a sentiment that fades away just because a person discovers their sexual orientation. Census data also reports that gay couples who are black and Latino are more likely to be raising families than gay couples who are white.
Ultimately, probably the most useful knowledge this new data can deliver is that gay parenting is far more universal than some might believe. And, that gay families will exist whether the law recognizes them or not.