Interstate Recognition of Parentage in a Time of Disharmony: Same-Sex Parent Families and Beyond

57 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009 Last revised: 8 Jan 2015

See all articles by Courtney G. Joslin

Courtney G. Joslin

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: June 23, 2009


In a number of recent cases, litigants have argued that states have the authority to disregard prior parentage adjudications when those determinations violate the forum's law and policy on lesbian and gay parenting. The Article offers two contributions to the analysis of these interstate parentage cases. The first contribution is doctrinal. Drawing upon recent legal scholarship about interstate recognition of adoption judgments, the Article demonstrates that other forms of parentage adjudications, including those made in the context of otherwise modifiable orders such as child custody and support orders, are entitled to exacting respect under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The second contribution is normative. Thus far, the scholarship on these interstate parentage cases has been limited largely to consideration of their implications for other same-sex parent families. Lesbian and gay parenting is not, however, the only area of parentage law where the states have adopted widely divergent rules based on moral or policy concerns. To the contrary, parentage has become an increasingly contested area of law. This Article seeks to fill the gap in the literature by considering the potential ripple effects of these same-sex parent cases in two other areas of parentage law - surrogacy and paternity disestablishment.

Keywords: interstate recognition, parentage, Full Faith and Credit, judgments, sexual orientation, same-sex couples, assisted reproductive technology, surrogacy, paternity disestablishment, PKPA, UCCJEA

Suggested Citation

Joslin, Courtney G., Interstate Recognition of Parentage in a Time of Disharmony: Same-Sex Parent Families and Beyond (June 23, 2009). 70 Ohio State Law Journal 563 (2009), UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 178, Available at SSRN:

Courtney G. Joslin (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA CA 95616
United States
(530) 752-8325 (Phone)

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