Discrimination is complicated. Equality is simple.

Discrimination is complicated. Equality is simple.

Case in point, from the New York Times article, “How to File for Financial Aid if Your Parents Are Gay”:

Filling out the federal form for student financial aid is an arduous task for most applicants. But if you have two mothers or two fathers, or if you happen to be married to a same-sex partner, it can quickly escalate into an even more complicated exercise.

Since the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, neither does the federal form, called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, informally known as the Fafsa. So students whose immediate families include same-sex partners often find themselves struggling to figure out how to accurately represent their families. The 106-question form only asks applicants to list their “mother/stepmother” and “father/stepfather.”

For now, there are no easy fixes. It’s not as simple as adding in gender-neutral language on the form, something the Department of State recently did to passport applications to acknowledge that some children are being raised by same-sex parents. That’s because the amount and type of aid provided to students uses a formula that takes the entire family unit into account — including the parents and students’ marital status. And the Department of Education said it relies on the federal definition of marriage (one man, one woman).

For now, applicants must fill out the form according to the current rules, which can result in applicants getting more or less aid than identical families with opposite-sex partners.

Click here to read more: “How to File for Financial Aid if Your Parents Are Gay”


About stuartgaffney

Stuart Gaffney and his husband John Lewis were one of the plaintiff couples in the California case for marriage equality, decided by the California Supreme Court in 2008. Stuart is the Media Director and API Outreach Director for Marriage Equality USA.

Posted on October 19, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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