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Gay And Lesiban Parenting With The Law

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Do Gays and Lesbians have the same rights as heterosexual families when it comes to the law and parenting? Should Gay and Lesbians be allowed to adopt children or even raise children? How does the law look at same sex parenting? Gays and Lesbians fall in love, have sexual intercourse, sexual relations, and care for each other and their children without the sanctity of the state. Since the “gay-by boom” of the 1980’s, increasing numbers of lesbian and gay couples are choosing to have families and are raising children. Only recently, in very limited situations and jurisdictions, have gays and lesbians successfully challenged legal restrictions on formal marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions, adoption and foster planning. Some of the most successful petitions have been brought by “second parents,” a term coined by Delaney (1991) to denote the lesbians (or gay) partners of legal parents who wished to have their relationships with their partner’s child recognized by the state. Legal parental status is necessary for a second-parent to make legal decisions regarding the child and for the parenting couple to organize family life with choices similar to heterosexual parents and stepparents. Federal policies such as income tax exemptions, intestate succession, and eligibility for entitlement programs require a legally defined family. Most private insurance carriers require a state-sanctioned family for extension of health or life insurance benefits. Doctors, as well as, schools, day care centers, prisons, and other institutions often require that parents, and only parents, make arrangements for the care of their children. (Connolly 1998, 2002) Proponents of same-sex adoption contend that “discrimination against homosexuals is prevalent in the family law context where judges and agencies are able to exercise broad discretion.

In one of the articles I read, The Voice of the Petitioner: The Experiences of Gay and Lesbian Parents in Successful second-parent adoption Proceedings, a study of 20 parents who successfully pursued a second parent adoption were interviewed to examine their experiences with the legal system. The results indicated that the petitioners did not envision themselves as similar to heterosexual families and resisted attempts by state actors who tried to formulate them as such. The first state to publish an opinion allowing a second parent adoption was New York in 1991. In the case, (In re Evans) in the matter of a child whose first name is Evan, Judge Preminger carefully evaluated New York adoption law, the social science evidence on gay parents, and the documentation provided by the petitioning lesbian couple. Ultimately, she concluded that nothing prevented the adoption. Immediately after the ruling the Evans case, numerous couples began similar proceedings in courts around the country. In this reading, only the experiences of successful petitioners where examined to avoid the confounding factor of “disappointment of defeat.” Of the cases examined, the most typical parenting arrangement was that of a long term lesbian couples who had used donated sperm for conception. Most of the couples did not know the sperm donors. Other parenting arrangements included a biological mother with a child from a previous heterosexual relationship, several single parent adoptions (often done from a wink or nod from the adoption agency), and one gay couple who had used a surrogate mother impregnated with one of the men’s sperm, making him the biological father. Most of the interviewees where lesbians; three couples were gay. The conclusion of this article was that after much research it was determined that gay and lesbian were allowed to adopt children and would be seen under the law as a family.

In the second article I read Social Norms and Judicial Decision making: Examining the



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