National census questionnaires in 2000 offered the first opportunity for gay and lesbian couples to have their family relationships acknowledged. The newly edited census form asked the sex and relationship of a respondent to the "main householder." According to GayDemographics.org, more than 10,000 same-sex Hoosier couples identified themselves as unmarried partners. Monroe County led the state in unmarried partners as a percentage of total population.
Yet despite this statistical recognition of diversity in family life, same-sex couples are still denied the right to marry in Indiana. The Indiana Marriage Protection Act defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman only, and also prohibits recognition of same-sex civil unions granted outside Indiana. Authored by State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Greenwood), the Act's passage in 1997, along with similar laws in other states, reaffirmed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996.
More than 700 kids from Marion County are locked up in the Indiana Department of Correction, serving time in gloomy facilities like the old Indiana Boys' School, now known as the Plainfield Juvenile Correctional Facility. In terms of both sheer numbers and per capita, our local juvenile court gives more kids more severe sentences than any other county in the state.
The local pattern of institutionalization contradicts research showing community-based sentences are more effective at reforming most juvenile offenders. It is an expensive pattern, too, costing county and state taxpayers a combined $32 million a year, leading to a nasty fiscal fight between the state and local governments.
Every three minutes a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Five will die of breast cancer every hour. Since 1940, a woman's risk of getting breast cancer has doubled. More have died of breast cancer over the past 20 years than all the Americans killed in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
In a solid piece of civic journalism, the Indianapolis Star last week exposed definitively what is probably the No. 1 social injustice in a country where social injustice lurks in every shadow - the disproportionate number of African-American males incarcerated in our prisons.
San Francisco judges have cut all ties with the Boy Scouts of America over the organization’s outright discrimination against gays.
Headlines in Bloomington and Washington last week highlighted the contrasting positions on homosexuality taken by two nonprofit youth groups with Bloomington-area affiliates, demonstrating that in post-Matthew Shepard America, homophobes still rule.