The Endurance of Biological Connection: Heteronormativity, Same-Sex Parenting and the Lessons of Adoption
BYU Journal of Public Law, Vol. 22, 2008
37 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2008 Last revised: 24 Oct 2008
Date Written: September 13, 2008
This paper traces the intersecting and diverging paths of adoption norms and the legal recognition of same sex parents. It compares adoption law's trajectory from replicating the modern family and erasing biological connection to its current embrace of biology with a similar movement among lesbian and gay families. While many of these postmodern families are replicating modern family forms, they are also heeding lessons learned in adoption about the endurance of biology, acknowledging and even embracing their children's biological families. The paper first reveals the tenacity of biological connection and its deep and wide significance in United States culture, history, and law. The next section explores lesbian and gay families with children, noting ways these families reflect heteronormativity through two, rather than plural, parent families and yet still value and honor biological connections by including reproductive partners, such as sperm donors and surrogates, into their family systems. The article concludes with lessons open-adoption law and practice might offer lesbian and gay families with children, particularly regarding the possible benefits of developing legal schemes regarding these family systems.
Keywords: adoption, children, lesbian, gay, family
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