Same-sex Parents in Custody Cases

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When considering the word “family”, many people think of “Mom+Dad+2.5 children”--the nuclear family of television sitcom. However, this definition of family is a new interpretation that fit the rapid housing expansion of the Cold War years in the Western world. Conservatives have often decried the breakdown of this definition of family as a primary reason for their opposition to same sex marriage. As this was the predominant family structure for a lengthy period of time, most family law decisions have been written with this paradigm in mind, defining a husband/wife relationship as the norm. However, as gay marriage is legalized nationally, family law must adapt to newer definitions of the word “family”, in order to…show more content…
Interestingly, a recent case has further infringed upon the ability of gay partners to adopt a child in their marriage, thus highlighting the precarious legal status of a gay parent. In the case of Amalia C. and Melissa M., “Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court judge, Margarita López Torres, ruled on Jan. 6 that because New York State had enacted same-sex marriage in 2011 and allowed both women to be listed on the boy’s birth certificate, Amalia was already the child’s parent and could not adopt him.” (McKinley) This ruling has been troubling to gay rights advocates “because the presumption of parentage may not be respected if they leave the state,” according to Susan Sommer, a lawyer with the Lambda Legal Defense Fund (McKinley). Judge Torres, however, has stated openly that her reason for the ruling was because it places gay marriage on a separate footing from traditional marriage and while she is sensitive to the needs of those whose marriages may not be recognized in another state, she must abide by the laws of New York, which do not allow a heterosexual spouse to adopt a stepchild (McKinley).
In "The Gay Divorce Trap: When Same-Sex Marriage Goes Wrong.", Lizzie Crocker addresses the difficulties faced by gay parents:
When a heterosexual couple divorces, a judge determines custody rights—both visitation and child support—based on a child’s best interest. But that issue is complicated for gay couples who raised children
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