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The Right Medicine: Same-sex Family Law

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  1. Existing literature
  2. Research design
  3. Headlines establish story tone
  4. Supporting evidence: Quotes and professionals
  5. Overall presentation of tone
  6. Incident of reporting: Use of other state law comparisons
  7. Number of identified positions by news type
  8. Conclusions
  9. References

Currently in the United States, same-sex couples face many discrepancies in the law compared to heterosexual married couples, many related to taxation, discrimination protection, and other benefits. Of particular importance are the barriers that same-sex couples and larger families face when dealing with medical issues such as emergency decisions, hospital rights, dependent care and insurance, among others. How do these differences affect same-sex families when dealing with general medicine in everyday life in the United States? As it is a rapidly changing field, extensive research on same-sex family medical law is sparse. The most relevant information that survived several years of legal change can be used today for comparison to current situations

[...] As same-sex partnership is heavily rooted in politics and cultural evolution, issues such as medical rights are deeply imbedded in the U.S. society. Kathleen Hull (2006) interviewed 38 same-sex couples and explored their relationships, which lacked legal recognition, and how they fit into society. Noting on commitment ceremonies, Hull states that these act to achieve the same validation that heterosexual couples use in legal marriages since the option is not available to same-sex couples (interviews were conducted before legal same-sex marriage was available in Massachusetts). [...]

[...] Though her sample was limited to a small number of states, it did represent the general pattern of same-sex family law at the time and the vast majority of her findings relate to medical law have not changed since (Hull 2006). Research Design Public opinion surrounding same-sex family laws can be easily swayed by the media. As such, I chose to focus my individual research on how these medically relevant laws are portrayed by news outlets, as this can have a significant effect on the public understanding and on voting patterns. [...]

[...] The following table reports whether the news report issued a statement in favor of same-sex family rights (positive), against same-sex family rights (negative), or did not offer an outright stance. Number of Identified Positions by News Type Follow-up Availability Follow-up reports proved to be rare. In cases where bills were turned down or faced any significant changes, local outlets were highly unlikely to report on the updates. Only 3 local outlets issued follow-up reports for the stories I tracked. National outlets were more likely to report on the same law again, with 7 follow-up reports available. [...]

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