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Equal Protection for Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents: Challenging the Three Pillars of Exclusion - Legitimacy, Dual-Gender Parenting, and Biology

Law and Inequality, Vol. 28, p. 307, 2010

U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-18

27 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2010 Last revised: 29 Sep 2014

Catherine E. Smith

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: June 11, 2010

Abstract

In this essay, Professor Smith contributes to an underdeveloped area of sexual orientation and gender identity scholarship by exploring the rights of children of same-sex couples who face discrimination because of their relation to or association with their gay and lesbian parents. Children of same-sex couples are rarely plaintiffs in same-sex marriage litigation, or in cases outside of the marriage context that challenge state actions denying them government benefits. This Essay takes the latter scenario and briefly evaluates common rationales against same-sex marriage in the context of a child litigant denied a wrongful death recovery of a non-biological gay or lesbian parent. Smith finds that common government rationales - based in legitimacy, dual-gender parenting and biology - are unlikely to prevail. Indeed, they fly in the face of existing equal protection jurisprudence designed to protect the rights and interests of children.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Catherine E., Equal Protection for Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents: Challenging the Three Pillars of Exclusion - Legitimacy, Dual-Gender Parenting, and Biology (June 11, 2010). Law and Inequality, Vol. 28, p. 307, 2010; U Denver Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1623882

Catherine E. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States

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