This page contains news for the period July 01, 2001 through July 06, 2001.
July 2001 >>
Tuesday, July 3, 2001
Taiwan expands domestic partners
A story released today by the Taipei Times reports that on June 26, Taiwan's Ministry of
Justice produced a draft of the basic human rights law intended to further protect and
promote human rights in Taiwan. Article 6 stipulates that gays and lesbians shall be
allowed to have families as well as to legally adopt children.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education is planning to include discussions on homosexual
issues in the future Nine-Year Educational Program to "help students and parents
understand and respect others." Such progress clearly shows an increasing
acceptance of homosexuality.
"I believe the ministry's recent decision concerning gay and lesbian families and
adoption is a positive move conducive to the elimination of discrimination against
homosexuals." said ministry chief advisor, Tsai Mao-sheng. "The rights of
homosexuals shall be protected in order to avoid any unjust treatment."
"Only by allowing same-gender couples to legally form families can we enable them to
enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to all married "straight" couples --
such as automatic inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, the right to make
medical or health care decisions on behalf of one's partner and greater access to
insurance and credit, among other benefits." said Tsai.
The ministry's decision to allow homosexuals to adopt children is also commendable.
In fact, an increasing number of homosexual couples and individuals worldwide are choosing
to become parents.
In the year 2000, an estimated 5 million children were being raised in gay and lesbian
households in the US alone -- whether through birth parenting, step parenting, donor
insemination, foster parenting or adoption. Experts say that gay and lesbian parents are
good parents, since they are usually caring and open-minded about raising children.
Still, the ministry stressed that the right to "form a family," as stated in the
draft, is different from the right to a legal marriage.
Critics assert that according to Article 7 of the Constitution, "All citizens,
irrespective of sex, religion, race, class or party affiliation, shall be equal before the
law." They believe that gay and lesbian rights should be legally protected and
promoted in Taiwan to ensure that all individuals can be treated equally and justly.
Census reveals where domestic partners tend
to settle down
A story published today by the Washington Post reports that
the recently released 2000 Census is revealing striking differences between the places
where lesbian couples and gay male couples choose to settle. In metropolitan areas across
the country, the men tend to pick the city and the women opt for the suburbs.
In District of Columbia, for example, gay male couples outnumber lesbian couples
almost 3 to 1. While each of the eight suburban counties of Maryland, for which the Census
Bureau released data yesterday, there are more lesbian couples than male couples.
The census, however, underscores how openly homosexuals are living across a wide area
of the United States outside the hip urban centers more commonly considered appealing to
gay people. Suburbia has a particular draw for couples, straight or gay, who are raising
Households consisting of two partners of the same sex have also shown up in more than 90
percent of the counties reported so far, compared with 25 percent in the 1990 Census. They
appear in all 105 counties of Kansas, and in all but 10 of Nebraska's 93 counties.
Demographers and gay activists say the numbers primarily reflect a more accurate tally of
same-sex partners, rather than a dramatic growth in number.
"We're on the farm, in the suburbs and the cities," said David Elliott, of the
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "It shows we are indeed everywhere. And it
debunks the stereotype we're only in Dupont Circle."
A comparison of census statistics for the District and Maryland illustrates a pattern
borne out across the country.
In the District, the census counted 2,693 households of gay male partners, compared with
985 households of lesbian partners. But in each of the eight Maryland suburbs, lesbian
couples outnumber their male counterparts, with a total of 3,217 households of female
partners to 2,717 households of male partners.
The major reasons why lesbian couples say they have chosen to build a life in the suburbs
are familiar to most heterosexual couples.
They are more likely than gay men to have children, and they perceive the suburbs as
offering better schools. Like women in general, lesbians tend to earn less than gay men
and so venture to the suburbs to find cheaper, roomier housing. And for themselves and
their children, they find more safety living outside the city.
But as more gay and lesbian couples move to the suburbs, old stereotypes are giving way.
Many homosexual couples say they have found a degree of acceptance in the suburbs they
would have found unimaginable a decade ago.
Cogan and Lucas, who have decorated their Silver Spring house with crafts and handmade
mission furniture, have an elderly neighbor who drops by to lend them his tools. The
minister who lives across the street has also been very friendly.
"Gay couples used to live in the cities because that's where they were accepted,
tolerated," said Lucas, 45, who works in public relations for a health firm.
"Now it's much more like that in the suburbs. We're totally accepted and welcomed