The Future of Family
Max D. Siegel
University of Maryland School of Law
December 5, 2012
George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal (CRLJ), Vol. 23, No. 2, 2013
The State organizes society into families, implicating and often ignoring various liberty and equality interests while fortifying a “traditional” family structure comprised of one man, one woman, and their mutually and exclusively conceived offspring. This structure has historically benefited the heterosexual elite within the United States, but modern advancements for sexual minorities suggest a new standard for State recognition of family. Queer liberation will erase the traditional family by rewriting its legal and social dimensions, resulting in laws and policies that track more closely with familial bonds outside a heteronormative, man-woman binary. This Article explores the ramifications of enhanced queer liberty beyond the lives of sexual minorities and establishes how these civil rights advancements stand to dismantle exclusionary notions of family. As an example, and in light of the rapid growth of familial creation in the context of donated embryos, ova, and sperm, this Article argues that queer liberation benefits donor-conceived family communities, which are familial groups that have connected on the basis of donated reproductive materials but which persist with various unmet legal needs. Finally, by highlighting dignity as the historical and contemporary link between the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, this Article asserts that liberty as dignity connects rights across society, including donor-conceived family communities. By moving all communities away from the traditional family, a queer redefinition of family stands to unleash personal agency in the legal construction of all citizens’ familial lives.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: Fourteenth Amendment, Due Process, Equal Protection, Family Law, LGBT, Queer
Date posted: December 6, 2012 ; Last revised: November 13, 2013
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