NEW YORK (AP) - There's new research coming out Wednesday that suggests changes are afoot in how Americans define family.
While family is still much revered, the research shows steadily increasing recognition of unmarried couples - gay and straight - as families.
But there's a solid core resisting this trend who are more willing to include pets in their definition than same-sex partners.
How "family" is defined is a crucial question.
Beyond the debate over same-sex marriage, it affects income tax filings, adoption and foster care practices, employee benefits, inheritance rights and countless other matters.
The presence of children counts significantly in people's definition of a family.
The new research is contained in a book-length study and a separate 2010 survey overseen by the book's lead author, Indiana University sociologist Brian Powell.
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