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.
Yesterday the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, issued a formal apology to thousands of unwed mothers who were forced to give up their children for adoption in post-World War II Australia. I’m sure that the reaction of many people is “it’s about time” and indeed, that is the case. But there are also a couple of other points that strike me.
First, tying back to yesterday’s post, this is something like a logical consequence of the emphasis on how important marriage is. It looks to me like the problem with these unmarried mothers is that they were unmarried.
Unwed mothers were pressured, deceived and threatened into giving up their babies from the second world war until the early 1970s so they could be adopted by married couples, which was perceived to be in the children’s best interests, the Senate committee report found. Continue reading
Next week (Tuesday and Wednesday) the United States Supreme Court will hear argument in two major cases that concern access to marriage for lesbian and gay couples. Together these are surely the most important gay rights cases to reach the Court since Lawrence vs. Texas in 2003. (In Lawrence the Court struck down the Texas sodomy law.)
In one of next week’s cases (United States vs. Windsor) the constitutionality of DOMA will be at stake. DOMA (“The Defense of Marriage Act”) bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples as married even when their marriages are perfectly lawful and recognized in the state where they live. DOMA thus creates an exception to the usual rule that couples deemed to be married under state law will be recognized as married by the federal government. Continue reading
I know there’s been a bit of a gap here, but that’s the nature the the semester, I guess. Busy week it has been. I’ll circle back to comments but need to get the main threads restarted, too. So here goes. I’ve been meaning to post about this enterprise for a while. It’s gotten some press coverage, too. (Besides my link you can look at their website under press for more stories.)
The idea here is to facilitate the creation of families consisting of two genetic paernts and a child where the genetic parents are not a couple. I’ve written about this sort of set up a couple of times in the past–it’s not really a brand new idea. And I think what I have to say now is largely consistent with what I’ve said in the past.
On the one hand, for those most concerned about legal parenthood being defined along genetic lines, this seems unproblematic. Continue reading
This post is a spin-off from the previous one. It might make more sense if you read that (and scan some of the comments) first, so you get a context for this.
The earlier post is about Jonathan Sporn and Leann Leutner. They used sperm from an anonymous third-party provider and had a child together, but they weren’t married. Leutner died when the child was about six months old and Sporn isn’t recognized as a legal parent, which means that the child has no legal parents right now.
Someone (I think Kisrita) described him as a step-parent and this sparked both thinking and a conversation that I thought I’d make into a real post, because I think it is an important discussion. Continue reading
There’s a story in today’s NYT that reminds me of a couple of others I have blogged about here. They are all slight variations on the same theme, I think.
Jonathan Sporn and Leann Leutner were a long-time but unmarried couple. (The unmarried part turns out to be critical.) They wanted to start a family but had trouble conceiving. They ended up using IVF and (also critically) sperm from a third-party. Lincoln Amory Aurelian Sporn Leutner was born last July.
Sadly, Leutner died January 1. Now the question is what becomes of Lincoln. Continue reading
Here’s another recent case about legal fatherhood–one I think makes a nice complement to the Virginia case I blogged about recently. This one is from Indiana. I’ll run through the facts quickly first.
Steven and Amy Engelking were married in 2001. Apparently Steven had a vasectomy before they married. The couple consulted a doctor to see if it could be reversed and learned that this was unlikely. As a result, the couple began to investigate the possiblity of using assisted insemination with sperm from another man.
A long-time friend of Amy’s told her that the friend’s husband (SP) would be willing to serve as sperm donor. Steven encouraged the use of SP’s sperm, apparently in part because SP looked like Steven and because SP and Steven shared similar “characteristics and morals.”
Amy ended up doing the insemination at home and in 2004 she gave birth to a son. The process was repeated in 2006 and a daughter was born. Continue reading
Credit to Adopted Ones who caught this right away. The Utah Supreme Court put a hold on the transfer of custody in the disputed adoption case involving Terry Achane that I’ve been following. Though this is obviously incredibly difficult for Achane and the other people closely involved, it’s a bit early to make too much of it. If the Utah Supreme Court wants to take a look at the case–even a quick look–I’d expect them to put everything (like changes of custody) on hold for at least a short time.
If the Court thinks there’s any real issue here I would expect it to continue the stay while it reviews things. If it doesn’t, it could dissolve the stay in a day or two. No way to tell yet, I don’t think.
I’ve been following a case from Utah for some time now. You can read those earlier posts but the basic outlines are simple.
Terry Achane was married and his wife was pregnant. She wished to give the child up for adoption and he did not. When the army moved him from Texas (where they lived) to South Carolina the wife stayed behind. Eventually, she went to Utah to give birth. Utah law grants very limited parentage rights to unmarried men and, though Achane was married, it seems that the wife took advantage of this feature. (The marriage was apparently ending.) She placed the child for adoption and the little girl ended up with a couple named Frei. It took Achane some months to locate the child but in time he did and in October a court affirmed his rights as a legal parent. By that time the child was around 20 months old.
In terms of remedy going forward, the problem is that, rightly or wrongly, Achane is a total stranger to the child. Continue reading
The past several posts have focused on a recent adoption case from Utah. I’m going to assume people are up to speed on the basic facts and the outline of the discussion here. I’ve two more points to add to the conversation–one a news update (courtesy of TAO) and the other a further consideration of the legal issues raised here.
First the news: As The Adopted Ones Blog says, the agency involved in the Achane case is apparently under investigation in Utah. It’s actually a tad misleading to say “agency” as the article notes that the corporation has done business under at least eight different names. Thus, I’m sure to many people it appears to be agencies.
Two things here are particularly striking to me: First, the same entity faciliated five of the controversial and litigated adoptions of children born to unmarried women akin to ones we’ve discussed here. Continue reading