I’m back. I will momentarily take down the sticky note that says it is summer vacation. Our house guests have travelled on, I have reliable internet. From here on out normal posting resumes. It’s been a long (and for me a good) summer. Hope you all can say the same. (Of course, for many of you summer isn’t over–but law schools tend to start in mid-August.)
Getting restarted is always hard–trying to figure out which threads to pick up. What works for me (and I apologize if it does not also work for you) is to do something short and simple. Then I can move on (and I’ll try to be picking up the comments, too.)
So with all that said, here is this none to recent story about lesbian legal motherhood and how it is complicated by the legal status of same-sex marriage. I think what strikes me most just now are these lines:
All of these “belts and suspenders” wouldn’t be necessary if Sharon and I were a straight married couple. We’d be able to live in any state in the country and have our legal rights as parents and our family automatically respected and protected by law.
I think many people don’t fully appreciate the extent to which legal parenthood is tied up with marriage. (I don’t mean to say the extent to which it should be tied up to marriage, by the way. This is purely descriptive.) If a woman married to a man has a child, and if the idea was for them to both be legal parents, then he is a legal parent from the moment the child is born. No one has to do anything–no lawyers have to be consulted, no papers have to be filed, no judges have to rule. It’s automatic. And it happens because they are married, not because of any genetic or informal social connection between the people involved.
This makes marriage singularly important to couples planning to start families. (Again, it doesn’t have to be this way–but it is this way.) And so stories like the one about lesbians starting families become arguments in favor of recognition of marriage between people of the same-sex.