Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gay and Lesbian Parenting, Legal Aspects of
Lynn M. Shelley-Sireci & Claudia Ciano-Boyce
Numerous legal issues confront families headed by homosexual parents. These concerns are not encountered by heterosexual parents, in large part because of legal protections that allow heterosexual couples more ease in the process of becoming and being parents. While a small number of state and local governments have instituted nondiscrimination legislation, currently no overarching federal protections or civil rights exist for homosexuals in the United States. Individual states have different legislation, and within states and jurisdictions individual judicial decisions are often contradictory, thus leaving the lesbian or gay couple to navigate the legal system for answers to questions regarding family life. The legal obstacles facing families headed by lesbians or gays primarily stem from the fact that their relationships are not legally recognized. The state of legal matrimony grants heterosexual couples many legal benefits. Both parents of children in a heterosexual union automatically have legal guardianship of their children. If ...