“FAFSA” is one of those words (if it is a word) that strikes fear into the hearts of those who know what it is. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and, as the name suggests, it is the form families have to fill out to get federal aid for their kids. And the reason it strikes fear is that it is a long and complicated process (though they do say that they keep trying to improve it.)
Now you may be wondering why this has anything to do with my blog. Bear with me.
One of the critical pieces of information FAFSA requires, of course, is the financial position of the student’s parents. It certainly stands to reason that this is the sort of thing you’d want to know in determining whether someone was eligible for federal student aid, right? But you all know that figuring out who counts as a ”parent” means isn’t always easy. Continue reading
Here’s one timely illustration of the marriage/children link being invoked in support of access to marriage. (This ties back to a post from yesterday.) The American Academy of Pediatrics (apparently the major national organization of pediatricians) has endorsed access to marriage for same-sex couples. The rational for this is all about what is good for children, which is, of course, the primary concern of pediatricians.
Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal
supports provided to married couples to raise children.”
(This is from the press release on the AAP website.)
It’s clearly crucial to this argument that significant numbers of lesbian and gay couples are already raising children. You can see how critical that premise is by looking at the discussion in Europe.
Also in the news (along with the surrogacy story I just posted), is this from Texas. Andy Miller and Brian Stephens have a son Clark, who they adopted just days after he was born in 2007.
Generally speaking, Texas issues “supplemental birth certificate forms” for adoptive parents. And if Andy and Brian were male and female, they’d have a nice new certificate listing them both as parents. But Andy and Brian are not male and female–they are both men. And Texas won’t issue a new birth certificate for them. Continue reading
Many important things happened on Election Day. Among them, Washington State voters (as well as those in Maine and Maryland) approved measures giving same-sex couples access to marriage.
This is an important first–all the other states that allow same-sex couples to marry got there by court action or by legislation. Further, those opposed to access to marriage had won something like 30 straight state-wide referenda on the topic. (Most of those were adoptions of statutes or constitutional amendments restricting access to marriage.) Somehow winning access via a vote of the people–the purest measure of majority sentiment–seems noteworthy.
It’s clear that the path to marriage in these states–as in all the others–runs through parenthood. Continue reading
I’m not sure what it is about this semester that is making finding time for the blog so difficult, but something there must be because here a whole week went by. Sigh. Partly I’ve spent that week working on a presentation that will be given this coming Thursday. Since it’s just about showtime, I thought I’d try a little bit of a run-through here, even though this doesn’t connect to anything terribly current-eventsy.
Here’s the general idea: An increasing number of states have enacted statutes that prohibit discrimination against lesbians and gay people. That means those who offer various services to the public have to offer them without regard to sexual orientation. You cannot have a restaurant or a hotel that won’t accept lesbian and gay patrons. There’s nothing so terribly radical about a statute like this–all states already have antidiscrimination statutes that identify protected groups, and just as the list of protected groups has been expanded in the past (to include veterans or the disabled or whatever), so some states have expanded it to include lesbians and gay men.
Now in some states, antidiscrimination statutes apply to adoption providers. Continue reading
I recently wrote about how marriage and parenthood can become linked. That’s actually a topic that has come up a number of times on this blog. The general idea is that if you think marriage is best for kids (and many people do) that this can become an argument for granting same-sex couples access to marriage. After all, they have kids and why not do the best we can for these kids. The early post (and the others referred to) talk about how this linkage can be problematic.
But though I haven’t talked about it, you can also run the links the other way round. So here is an article from today’s NYT. The idea here is that once a same-sex couple (here a gay male couple) gets married, people start to ask you about when you’ll be having kids. Continue reading
I’ve been reading over comments that piled up while I was away from the internet–responding to a few, but only making a beginning on that task. Several of the discussions revolve around the basic themes of this blog, which I suppose is hardly surprising, and I am reminded that the idea of legal parentage as a constructed or created status is one that is unsettling to many people. For that reason I thought I’d take time out to revisit it here.
Parent is one of those words that can be paired with many modifiers. So, for example, one can talk about a genetic parent. A genetic parent is (I think I’m on solid ground here, but stop me if I’m not) a person who contributed a gamete to the creation of the child. This means that every person has two genetic parents, one male and one female. Thanks to the wonders of modern science we can pretty much establish with certainty whether a person is or is not a genetic parent.
I think I might even go so far as to say that a genetic parents exist by virtue of the laws of nature. Continue reading
While I’m playing catch-up, here are a couple of recent surrogacy related items–one fact and one fiction.
There’s this story from The Today Show. Robyn and Jason Wright used their own gametes and a surrogate in India. It’s sort of a standard globalized surrogacy story with a small but notable couple of twists. First, the surrogate actually has a name–Usha. And consistent with that, the Wrights recognize her as an important player in their child’s life. Indeed, there’s this striking quote:
“She’s ultimately his mother too. I truly feel that way: that he has two moms,” says Robyn. “My goal is to get him to understand that she cares for him as much as we do.” Continue reading
As many of you probably know, yesterday our Governor, Christine Gregoire, signed legislation that allows same-sex couples to get married. Those opposed to the measure have until early June to gather signatures and if they gather enough, then the legislation will be on our November ballot as a referendum. Thus, no same-sex couples will be getting married here before June, and that’s only if the signature-gatherers fall short.
This seems as good a time as any to look back (broadly) on the struggles and changes that brought us to this moment. Continue reading
I’ve been rather avoiding blogging about this story for well over a week now but since it just won’t go away, I’ll say something about it. There must be hundreds of versions out there on the web by now and I’m just arbitrarily picking a couple to start with. If you really want to know more, I’m sure you can poke around and find countless others.
John Goodman (not, I am quick to say, the fine actor who had a terrific role in Roseanne and The Big Lebowski) is a wealthy 48 year-old-man who stands charged with vehicular homicide in the death of Scott Patrick Wilson. Wilson’s parents are also suing Goodman for civil damages.
This John Goodman has a couple of children who are in their teens. Continue reading