I’ve maintained this blog for something over four years, I think. (That’s unless it is five.) I care deeply about it–and not only about the parts that I write. I care about the conversations that can happen in the comments. I’ve learned a lot and thought things through when I am pushed to articulate more clearly or defend a position.
But this all depends on the overall tone here. We don’t have to agree, but we have to be respectful. We can be anecdotal without being personal. We can be pointed without being petty. I know we can because we have.
Now it appears that things are in a bit of a slide. People trying to hammer each other into agreement, maybe. I think it’s just time to agree that there are some things we disagree about, to take a step back, and to let the conversation move on.
I’d like to think this ship can right itself, but if not, I will exercise power as a moderator. I will take down comments if I think they are not substantive. I do not propose to act as a censor. There will be plenty of room for those who disagree with me. I just want to get back to the higher ground. (That’s rather a bad place for a ship, now that I think of it, so I’ve gone and mixed my metaphors. Still, you get the idea.)
I’ve got a couple of recent posts up about the marital presumption. I thought I’d add another case–this one from Mississippi. It’s not a marital presumption case, as you can see. (If anyone can help me understand why it isn’t, I’d be grateful. Is it possible that MS no longer uses the presumption? Do tell if you know.) But the facts are similar to the recent CA case I wrote about and there is a presumption at work.
So here’s the story. Anne and Jake had an intimate relationship before the married. But during that time, apparently unbeknownst to Jake, Anne had a one-night stand with Tommie. Anne got pregnant. Tommie suspected the child might be his, but he knew about Jake, too. Jake didn’t know about Tommie and so assumed that he was the father of the child.
Anne and Jake got married in June 2004 when Anne was 17 weeks pregnant. Continue reading
As you will know from earlier posts, there is a very interesting trial proceeding in Michigan. It’s a challenge to laws that prohibit a same-sex couple from marrying and therefore from jointly adopting. The plaintiffs are a lesbian couple each of whom has adopted children out of foster care. Though they have been together for quite some time, the two women cannot adopt each other’s children. This puts the children at risk in various ways–the non-adoptive mother is not a legal parent of the child.
What’s really interesting is that the trial judge is hearing live testimony from a series of expert witnesses of various sorts. You can follow along via twitter coverage or blog coverage or the local (Detroit) paper. I’m sure there will be other coverage, too, but how much can one take in.
So what to think? Continue reading
There’s a post a ways back about studies of the fitness of lesbian/gay parents. One major study (discussed there) is by Professor Mark Regnerus. His study is being used by the state of Michigan to support its ban on same-sex marriage in a case that features dueling studies (and to some extent dueling methodologies.) If you’re interested there’s a useful twitterfeed covering his testimony. I will wait till this is over to say more, but wanted to pass that link along.
The most immediately striking thing to me is that of 3000 people studied only 2 were raised by same-sex couples. (Something under three hundred had parents who had at least one same-sex relationship.) I’m not sure how firm a basis that can give you for any conclusion about same-sex couples as parents.
In honor of the Academy Awards I thought I would put up a brief post about parenthood in the movies. I’ve written on the general topic (and more broadly, parenthood in popular culture) in the past. Since I believe the legal definition of parent is socially constructed, it’s depiction in popular culture can be important.
Anyway, on the eve of the Oscars I got to see American Hustle. (For the record, it was nominated for ten Oscars, won absolutely nothing, but I thought it was quite good.) It’s about a con artist–Irving Rosenfeld (played by Christian Bale–who is pretty much a small-time, low-life sort of guy. He’s ensnared by the FBI and ends up being used to ensnare increasingly valuable (and generally corrupt) defendants. Based on a true story, as they say.
Rosenfeld is a complicated character. He’s a crook. He preys (at the outset) on other crooks. He has both a mistress and a wife. It’s hard to say he is admirable. Continue reading
A little while back I wrote about a Michigan case involving the marital presumption. (Briefly stated, the marital presumption means that when a married woman gives birth to a child her spouse (and these days that can mean her wife) is presumed to be the legal parent of the child. That’s enough for now (you can read up on it in the earlier post). I’ll just also note that 1) all states have some form of the marital presumption and 2) it’s a presumption about LEGAL parentage–who is the legal parent of the child.)
As I’ve said, different states have different versions of the presumption. It can be easier or harder to rebut, depending on where you are, for example. MI, we now know, has a version that allows a husband to invoke it even if his (ex-)wife doesn’t want him to. This means he can claim legal parentage of a child that is genetically related to his wife and another man. Continue reading
I wrote a recent post about studies–social science studies about parenting, etc. I sort of feel like I’m in a “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” sort of spot–they frustrate me in many ways, but I’m not prepared to say we don’t need them or shouldn’t consider them.
Perhaps the point I’d make (though you can just go read that post) is that we need to view them critically–all of them, even the ones with conclusions we like. There are, after all, better and worse studies. Continue reading