Gay Families are Still Families Essay

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While a popular catchphrase states that “family is a circle of friends that love you”, from a legal standpoint, the word “family” requires definition. Traditionally, a family has been defined as a married heterosexual couple and their children, but as more and more states are legalizing same-sex marriage, new questions arise. Regardless of one's position about whether gay marriage should be legal, it is clear that the definition of family is changing and the legal system will need to address these changes. Whether it is determining who should be a custodial parent, clarifying adoption processes, or implementing legal protections in cases of divorce, family law must grow and change along with the definition of family. Through my research, …show more content…
While a popular catchphrase states that “family is a circle of friends that love you”, from a legal standpoint, the word “family” requires definition. Traditionally, a family has been defined as a married heterosexual couple and their children, but as more and more states are legalizing same-sex marriage, new questions arise. Regardless of one's position about whether gay marriage should be legal, it is clear that the definition of family is changing and the legal system will need to address these changes. Whether it is determining who should be a custodial parent, clarifying adoption processes, or implementing legal protections in cases of divorce, family law must grow and change along with the definition of family. Through my research, I hope to present point/counterpoint in each of these three areas, as an illustration of how our legal system needs to adapt. This process will encourage the reader not just to consider the broader impact of legalizing gay marriage, but also encourage the reader to question his or her own definition of “family” by considering how unevenly existing laws have been applied. Law changes in this area stand to impact not just gay couples, but even traditional heterosexual couples (Brennan). I am not seeking to convince my audience that gay marriage is right; I am trying to provide them with food for thought regarding those challenges that are faced by gay spouses and suggest ways for future laws to be more inclusive of the new paradigm.
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