Same-Sex Parenthood, Same-Sex Marriage and the Best Interests of the Child

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Some of the most controversial issues in all of family law concern the growing acceptance of committed relationships and parenthood in the gay and lesbian communities. Law on this subject differs immensely from state to state. Regardless of state law, however, gay and lesbian couples are raising children in unprecedented numbers. Moreover, because gay and lesbian couples are just as mobile as the rest of society is, the resulting parenting issues are arising in states with many different viewpoints on these issues. The mobility issue is especially important because when a gay or lesbian relationship breaks up, a party will sometimes make an out-of-state move for the purpose of obtaining a tactical advantage in the resulting custody battle. This 13-page White Paper reviews the growing body of case law on custody issues involving children being raised by gay and lesbian parents. It finds that many states are resolving these issues by placing primary importance upon the best interests of the children being raised, who are clearly innocent victims in the cultural battles over gay and lesbian relationships. It also finds, however, that some states take a different approach. Included as an appendix is a table summarizing the status of the law on same-sex relationships in all 50 states. The cost of this White Paper is $50.