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. [...]
[...] Even with legislation passed to help equalize the insurance field for all Americans, findings still show that families with same-sex partners are significantly more likely to be without proper medical insurance. Obtaining proper care can also be a challenge for same-sex families. Röndahl found that many nurses were reluctant to treat homosexual patients, and if given the choice, the majority would not provide care at all (2004). Discrimination from health care professionals is a growing concern in the United States, where professional tolerance is widely encouraged to prevent lawsuits. [...]
[...] However, the reporter's choice of sources provided an overwhelmingly clear picture of support for equal same-sex family treatment. The article itself contains six different unrelated people giving quotes with positive outlooks on the family matter, with only two sources presenting negative stances. Four additional sources are cited as containing positive statistics and research findings in support of states allowing same-sex parent adoption. This was the general pattern, similar to headlines typically presenting one tone. Quotes from individuals and professionals (as well as statistics) were used to back up tones already presented. [...]
[...] Research projects require a great deal of effort, and funding, so it was difficult to find relevant material for the specific field of medicine. As more states adopt laws that offer some protection for same-sex families in the medical field, many of these sources will become outdated. My research chose to focus on public portrayal of the family laws in question, something that is even more prone to rapid change than the laws themselves. Similar studies in 1 or 2 years could yield drastically different results than those I [...]
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