The Department of Education has made a big change: recognizing unmarried same-sex couples as parents for the purposes of deciding on financial aid for their kids. Gay rights activists are happy, but that may be because they're not doing the math. You decide.
Gay-Rights Advocates Describe Fafsa Changes as Progress Toward Equality
So, let's get this straight (so to speak). Up until now, only one gay parent's income has been counted when a teen applies for financial aid using the FAFSA computerized form. This means that children of gays and lesbians have actually had an advantage in getting financial aid because their parents' relationship or marriage is not recognized by the Federal government, and only one parent's income was counted.Gay-rights advocates said on Tuesday that changes in the Education Department's student-aid form represented a step forward in equality for same-sex couples.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Monday that, starting in 2014-15, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid would count the income and assets of potential borrowers' legal parents in the calculation of students' need, regardless of the parents' gender or marital status, if the parents lived together. Under the changes, unmarried opposite-sex couples who live together would be included, for example, as well as same-sex couples.
Shane L. Windmeyer, the founder and executive director of Campus Pride, said that the decision would allow same-sex couples to be "validated" in the financial-aid process and that it showed the Education Department recognizes "there are more families than just heterosexual couples."
Currently, the form, known as the Fafsa, collects financial information from only one parent if the parents are unmarried or are in a same-sex relationship.
"The changes are small, but they speak volumes to the cultural change and progress that the LGBT community has made over time," Mr. Windmeyer said.
Brian Moulton, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, said he was happy to see the changes in the form recognize the "reality of the family situation."
Now, the Department of Education will count the income of both gay parents, regardless of whether or not their relationship is recognized. This means--correct me if I'm wrong--that children of gays and lesbians will actually have less of a chance of getting financial aid since their FAFSA form will reflect a higher "family" income.
So the price of "validation" is less financial aid for your kid. Way to go, gay activists. The HRC should be fighting this tooth and nail, but they're cheering it on. It supports my general thesis that the gay marriage fight is mostly about feelings and not about anything tangible. Either that, or the gay activists don't have college-bound kids.