Washington Same-sex couples head nearly 600,000 homes in the United States, according to census data considered the federal government's most thorough count yet of homosexuals. A gay or lesbian couple led a household in nearly every county in America.
Of the 594,391 same-sex couple homes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, nearly 16 percent were in California, and 8 percent in New York, according to the 2000 census. San Francisco had one of the highest shares among metropolitan areas, while gay and lesbian partners also settled in rural parts of the Midwest and Deep South.
Such living arrangements still comprise a tiny share of the nation's households just over one-half of 1 percent of the 105.5 million U.S. homes.
Yet many gay rights groups said the count alone offered proof of the growing social acceptance of homosexuality. David Smith, senior strategist for Human Rights Campaign, said the statistics will be used to buttress arguments concerning such issues as legal recognition of same-sex couples.
The results also dispel stereotypes that homosexuality is limited to large urban centers and college towns, Smith said.
The three most populous states also had the highest proportions of same-sex couple households. California had almost 16 percent of same-sex homes. Texas had 7.2 percent of the same-sex homes, and New Yorkhad 8 percent of same-sex homes.
Among cities, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York had some of the largest numbers of same-sex homes.