Legal Issues in Lesbian and Gay Adoption
LESBIAN AND GAY ADOPTION: A NEW AMERICAN REALITY, David Brodzinsky & Adam Pertman eds., Oxford University Press, Forthcoming 2011.
Posted: 14 Nov 2010 Last revised: 6 May 2011
Date Written: November 13, 2010
In the U.S., adoption provides an important vehicle for lesbians and gays to create and formalize parent-child relationships. Courts and even legislatures have been knowingly extending to lesbian and gay individuals and couples the right to adopt since at least the early 1990s, well before the push for legal protection of adult same-sex relationships - rights which have developed more slowly and with greater controversy. This book chapter provides an overview of adoption law and principles in the U.S., situates lesbian and gay adoption within those norms, and illustrates how the courts and legislatures have responded to the increasing numbers of openly-identified lesbians and gays who are seeking to adopt children as individuals and couples. The chapter also addresses issues surrounding enforcement of adoption decrees and concludes with a consideration of practical implications of the variety and indeterminacy of legal rules regarding lesbian and gay adoption.
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