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The Evolution Of The Same Sex Family

1613 words - 6 pages

The American family is constantly undergoing changes. In the early 1600s, the Godly Family was the prevalent family structure of the first Europeans who immigrated to the United States (Aulette, 2010). Until 1780, families were strictly patriarchal with a male head of the family, who supervised “all social activities, including education, health care, and welfare”, and insured the family’s self-sufficiency within its community (Aulette, 2010). Following this form, the Modern Family and its sub-categories, the Democratic Family and the Companionate Family, were the dominant family structures until the 1970s (Aulette, 2010). Throughout the course of almost 200 years, families evolved into more private institutions aside from the community, women withdrew more and more from physical work on the family’s property and concentrated on their designated occupation as a mother, caregiver and housewife. Men were still the head of the family in terms of pursuing an occupation to financially provide for the family’s needs. During this time, gender-specific roles within the family were reinforced, which are still partially in effect in today’s society and family structure. Since the mid-20th century, the American family seems to be changing more rapidly than ever, partially because of the influences of the Great Depression and World War II, which led to the remarkable baby boom of 1946 to 1964. Not only did the year of 1970 mark the beginning of the most recent stage in the history of the (European) American family, the Postmodern Family, it also was the year in which the first gay couple applied for a marriage license (, 2013). Even though the two men’s request had been denied back then, same-sex couples and their family structure have made tremendous progress since then.
In 2005, 1.3% of women and 2.3% of men in the United States identified themselves as homosexuals (Aulette, 2010). Only two decades earlier, gay and lesbian couples were often too afraid to publicly define themselves as homosexuals, mostly due to society’s disapproval of this lifestyle form (Ross, 1988). After the 1970s attempt of a homosexual couple to obtain a marriage license, multiple states passed laws that banned the marriage between same-sex partners with the explanation that marriage is only valid if it is between a man and a woman (, 2013).
Homosexual parents often had to keep their identity and sexuality a secret out of fear to lose custody of their children, which was a reasonable apprehension (Ross, 1988). Only ten years ago, after the 2004 presidential elections, 11 states in the U.S. officially banned same-sex marriage which increased discrimination against homosexuals and led to gays and lesbians having to overcome additional obstacles when finding employment, housing, or receiving benefits from a long time spouse’s employment (Smith, 2005). As of 2005, courts in Hawaii, Vermont and Massachusetts have “issued rulings in favor of same-sex marriage” and...

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