The Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood

Overview


In 1975, California courts stripped a lesbian mother of her custody rights because she was living openly with another woman. Twenty years later, the Virginia Supreme Court did the same thing to another lesbian mother. In ordering that children be separated from their mothers, these courts ruled that it was not possible for a woman to be both a good parent and a lesbian.

The Right to be Parents is the first book to provide a detailed history of how LGBT parents have turned to ...

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The Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood

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Overview


In 1975, California courts stripped a lesbian mother of her custody rights because she was living openly with another woman. Twenty years later, the Virginia Supreme Court did the same thing to another lesbian mother. In ordering that children be separated from their mothers, these courts ruled that it was not possible for a woman to be both a good parent and a lesbian.

The Right to be Parents is the first book to provide a detailed history of how LGBT parents have turned to the courts to protect and defend their relationships with their children. Carlos A. Ball chronicles the stories of LGBT parents who, in seeking to gain legal recognition of and protection for their relationships with their children, have fundamentally changed how American law defines and regulates parenthood. Each chapter contains riveting human stories of determination and perseverance as LGBT parents challenge the widely-held view that having a same-sexual orientation, or that being a transsexual, renders individuals incapable of being good parents.

To this day, some courts are still not able to look beyond sexual orientation and gender identity in order to fairly apply legal principles in cases involving LGBT parents and their children. Yet on the whole, Ball’s stories are of progress and transformation: as a result of these pioneering LGBT parent litigants, the law is increasingly recognizing the wide diversity in American familial structures. The Right to be Parents explores why and how that has come to be.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this latest contribution to a growing body of work dealing with legal issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity, leading scholar Ball (law, Rutgers Univ.; From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed Our Nation) considers the subject of legal recognition of LGBTQ parental rights. Through a series of case profiles, Ball provides an analysis in support of gay parents and argues that the legal standard of ruling in the best interests of children should be determined without consideration of the sexual preferences of the parents and solely with regard to "parental competence" as determined by the ability to meet the "responsibilities of parenthood." VERDICT Ball provides a solid reference for both those arguing in favor of LGBTQ parental rights and those seeking to understand the legal arguments advanced by those advocating for them. Recommended.—Reba Kennedy, San Antonio, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814739303
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/14/2012
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Carlos A. Ball is Professor of Law and Judge Frederick Lacey Scholar at Rutgers University, Newark. His previous books include From the Closet to the Courtroom and The Morality of Gay Rights.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I What Makes a Good Parent?

1 Mothers on Trial 21

2 Fathers Come out of the Closet 59

Part II Who Is a Parent?

3 Breaking up Is Hard to Do 83

4 Donate Here, Parent There 115

5 When the State Discriminates 143

Part III Can Transsexuals Be Parents?

6 Gender Does Not Make a Parent 183

Conclusion 209

Notes 215

Index 235

About the Author 239

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