June is Pride month and so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for our round-up of the latest news and developments affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Here are some of the top stories:
The counting has begun: The 2010 U.S. Census will be the first to report counts of both same-sex partners and same-sex spouses. The Williams Institute at UCLA reports that while the 2010 Census did not ask about sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBT people living with a spouse or partner were able to identify their relationship by checking either Ã¢â‚¬Å“husband or wifeÃ¢â‚¬ or Ã¢â‚¬Å“unmarried partnerÃ¢â‚¬ box.
To have and to hold: Same sex marriage is now legal in five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) and the District of Columbia. In addition, a number of states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. In California, the outcome of a federal court case will determine the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 (a constitutional amendment passed in November 2008 that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to recognize that state laws do not extend any of the benefits on a Federal level.
Healthy, wealthy and wise: The MetLife Mature Market Institute has made its publication Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples available free to the public. Compiled with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), the publication offers guidance and advice to LGBT boomers in the areas of legacy planning, employee benefits, healthcare, financial and retirement planning.
Going to market: LGBT consumers are eager for health insurers to market to them directly. A national survey conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications found that only 12 percent of LGBT adults were aware of any health insurance provider that currently markets (or has marketed) products to the LGBT community specifically. In addition, 81 percent of gays and lesbians feel it is important to see print advertisements for health care carriers with information specifically intended for them as customers.