Same-sex Parents in Texas: Jeff and Gary
By Yimou Lee for KUT and Reporting Texas
The televised celebrations surrounding the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in New York have once again put the spotlight on families headed by same-sex parents. It might come as a surprise to you that here in Texas, where a constitutional amendment has defined marriage as being only between a man and a woman, there are more same-sex parents than in many other parts of the country, including New York.
Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, while 22.8 percent of same-sex couples are raising a child under the age of 18 years in the United States, the figure in Texas is almost 27 percent, higher than its counterparts on the West and East Coasts, including California and New York.
The Lutes-Stein family is one of the many headed by a same-sex couple in Texas. Married in the presence of their three adopted children on the first day that California legalized gay marriages in 2008, Jeff Lutes and his partner Gary Stein knew that, legally speaking, it was a marriage that would last on paper only as long as the family stayed in California on vacation.
“I had trouble going through my vows, and I didn’t expect that coming. After all, we all know that same-sex marriage means nothing in Texas,” said Jeff. “…but we are just like any other couple. We have the same kinds of ups and downs, hopes and dreams for building a future and life together…”.
Despite what might be perceived as a unique family, in that Jeff and Gary are a gay couple who are raising three adopted children from different nationalities and religious backgrounds, and who communicate primarily with American Sign Language, they are actually not that different from any other family in Texas.
Our Storyboard intern, Yimou Lee, worked on a featured story about the Lutes-Stein family for Reporting Texas, earlier this year. We’re delighted to share with you his story of an “extraordinarily un-extraordinary” family, here on Storyboard.