Same-Sex Parents in Texas: Michelle and Emily
When Michelle Randolph was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2010, she thought it was just an “added journey of life” that many families had been through. She had a decent job and insurance that paid the medical expenses; her family, friends, coworkers and neighbors were supportive; and the doctor said that her body would be clear of cancer cells after six weeks of chemotherapy.
But the $113 million budget deficit that faced the Austin Independent School District in January changed everything. As part of the budget balancing that followed AISD eliminated Randolph’s teaching position at Hill Elementary School and along with it, her health insurance. Her partner, Emily Parks, still had her job as a social worker for the state, but she couldn’t protect Michelle and their children from the financial difficulties that followed as Texas state government does not cover health insurance costs for its employees’ same-sex partners.
“It’s unfair really. It’s just because we love each other that we are being denied one of the basic rights in this country?” said Michelle Randolph.
It’s one of the issues that the estimated 9,200 same-sex parents raising more than 18,000 children in Texas have to deal with everyday. Texas may have more gay parents than most parts of the country, but many of the same-sex parents of the state, like the Parks-Randolph family, continue to have to struggle for what they consider to be basic rights.
In our ongoing look at same-sex parents in Texas we bring you the story of the Parks-Randolph family and hear why Texas has more same-sex parents than you might expect.
-Yimou Lee for KUT and Reporting Texas