In this paper, we provide an overview of variability across jurisdictions in family law relevant to lesbian and gay parents and their children, showing that some courts have been negatively disposed to these families. We summarize recent research findings suggesting that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as are heterosexual parents to provide home environments that support positive outcomes among children. Research findings suggest that unless and until the weight of evidence can be shown to have shifted, parental sexual orientation should be considered irrelevant to disputes involving child custody, visitation, foster care, and adoption.
"Lesbian motherhood is less common than heterosexual motherhood, and lesbian routes to conception are, by definition, non-(hetero)normative and prone to classification as 'artificial' (Mamo, 2007), even when medical assistance to conceive is not sought (Ferrara et al., 2000). Nevertheless, estimates suggest that there are between 1 and 5 million lesbian mothers in the USA (Patterson and Redding, 1996), and that about a third of British lesbians are mothers (Golombok et al., 2003). Sixteen percent of married and co-habiting lesbian couples in Canada have children living with them (Statistics Canada, 2009), and according to the 2001 Australian census 19% of female same-sex couples have children (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although pregnancy loss is a distressing health event for many women, research typically equates women's experiences of pregnancy loss to 'married heterosexual women's experiences of pregnancy loss'. The objective of this study was to explore lesbian and bisexual women's experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.
This study analysed predominantly qualitative online survey data from 60 non-heterosexual, mostly lesbian, women from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. All but one of the pregnancies was planned. Most respondents had physically experienced one early miscarriage during their first pregnancy, although a third had experienced multiple losses.
The analysis highlights three themes: processes and practices for conception; amplification of loss; and health care and heterosexism. Of the respondents, 84% conceived using donor sperm; most used various resources to plan conception and engaged in preconception health care. The experience of loss was amplified due to contextual factors and the investment respondents reported making in impending motherhood. Most felt that their loss(es) had made a 'significant'/'very significant' impact on their lives. Many respondents experienced health care during their loss. Although the majority rated the overall standard of care as 'good'/'very good'/'outstanding', a minority reported experiencing heterosexism from health professionals.
The implications for policy and practice are outlined. The main limitation was that the inflexibility of the methodology did not allow the specificities of women's experiences to be probed further. It is suggested that both coupled and single non-heterosexual women should be made more visible in reproductive health and pregnancy loss research.
Human Reproduction 12/2009; 25(3):721-7. DOI:10.1093/humrep/dep441 · 4.57 Impact Factor
"Seemingly relying on stereotypes or myths about same-sex parenting, many judges have come to the conclusion that gays and lesbians are not adequate parents (Patterson & Redding, 1996). Falk (1994) asserted that courts have assumed that lesbian mothers are emotionally unstable and therefore unfit to assume the " motherly " role. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the growing number of same-sex unions, the legal system must determine the rights and responsibilities of gay parents who decide to end a relationship. In 2005, the California Supreme Court found that a child's lesbian caregiver was a legal “parent” despite having no biological or adoptive relationship, while the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 2004 concluded the opposite. Psychologists can inform this debate by presenting research demonstrating that (a) children benefit from contact with two parents, and (b) children's well-being is unaffected by their parents' sexual orientation. Psychologists can further assist the legal system by conducting future research. In order for psychologists to impact laws and policies, legal actors must utilize this expertise.
Social Issues and Policy Review 12/2008; 2(1):103-126. DOI:10.1111/j.1751-2409.2008.00012.x
"Not surprisingly, a fast growing, sometimes controversial body of literature addresses the wellbeing and outcomes of children raised in gay as compared to heterosexual households (Chan, Brooks, Raboy, & Patterson, 1998; Chan, Raboy & Patterson, 1998; Herek, 2006; Patterson, & Redding, 1996; Stacey & Biblarz 2001; Sullivan, 1996). beyond family sociology and family psychology, we can draw from a fascinating literature on the uniqueness of gay men's and lesbians' family lives and intimate relationships (Carrington, 1999; Weston, 1991). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study examines attitudes toward gay marriage within the context of concern over the weakening of heterosexual marriage. We use data from a three-state survey conducted in 1998 – 2000 and designed to explore attitudes toward marriage and divorce reform (N = 976). We find that women, Whites, and younger persons are more approving of gay marriage than men, Blacks, and older persons. Nonparents with cohabitation experience are most approving, whereas parents with no cohabitation experience are most opposed. Heterosexual marriage preservation attitudes are key predictors, net of religiosity and political conservativism. We interpret these findings with theories about vested interest in upholding marriage as an institution and ambivalence resulting from conflicting core values of the sanctity of marriage versus the valorization of individualism.
Journal of Marriage and Family 05/2008; 70(2):345-359. DOI:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00486.x · 3.01 Impact Factor
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