So it has been many many weeks–indeed many months, I think–since I have written here. Truth be told there’s no really good reason why. (I know, maybe I don’t have to have a why, but still I wonder.) I can offer different explanations for different bits of time. But really, what’s the point.
The thing is, I am back. Or at least, I’m going to try to be back. I’m going to consider this a restart. I mean, I won’t try for the moment to pick up the threads that were active. And my apologies to all those who have comments lost in moderation. They cannot (for now) be a high priority.
I’m going to keep this post short. All I want to do is sketch out two topics I mean to approach in the comings weeks/months. Of course, I’ll cover current events from time to time–they are far to interesting to resist. But in terms of through threads, I have two in mind right now.
The first is prompted by the increasingly broad recognition of marriage between same sex couples. There are now, I think, 36 states (plus DC) where same-sex couples’ marriages are recognized. Many of these have been forced into recognition by court orders. A smaller number (including my own state of Washington) reached that point via legislative or similar processes. And the United States Supreme Court has agreed to take on the marriage questions and will likely hear four related cases on the topic in late April. A decision would come by the end of June.
(You may recall that the Supreme Court took a couple of marriage cases a couple of years ago. The opinion in one–Windsor–has become the foundation for most of the subsequent litigation. The other was potentially a broader case but the Court decided it on grounds that did not reach the merits of the question. There is little chance that the Court will be able to avoid the merits this time.)
And what, you may wonder, does all this have to do with legal parenthood (which is, after all, the broad topic of my blog)? Well, the question is what now becomes of the marital presumption.
If you want to go back into what I now think of as “archives” you’ll find endless discussion of this presumption. (The fastest way in would be using the designated tag.) And I will have to rehearse a lot of that sooner rather than later. But for the moment, I will be brief: In virtually every state when a married woman gives birth to a child her husband is presumed to be the legal father of that child. Now the husband may challenge the presumption and different states have different rules about that. But the bigger question is whether the presumption will run in favor of the wife of a married woman. And if it does, will other states recognize the presumption? My thought here is that states that are basically hostile to same-sex couples–states that were dragged kicking and screaming to marriage recognition by judicial decree–will not want to extend any benefits of marriage to same-sex couples that they do not absolutely have to, and they may see the presumption as one they do not have to extend. Whether this is correct may depend on exactly why the marital presumption works for husbands. There is much to explore.
The second main thread is less well-defined, but will not be surprisingly to those who read the blog in the past. You all know that I think a lot about forms of parenthood and the role of genetic connection. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what may be an irreconcilable tension that lies deep within the arguments of those who support broad access to ART, as I do.
On the one hand, the importance of genetic connection is often emphasized. It is, for instance, the justification for demands for access to surrogacy. On the other hand, a commercial market for genetic materials would seem to be acceptable only if genetics is NOT the essence of parenthood. In short, the more important genetic connection is, the more difficult it is to defend the treatment of sperm and eggs in ART, while the less important genetic connection is, the harder it is to justify the need for access to ART. Can propoenents of ART have it both ways? If not, what should give? This is my second big topic for the coming months.
Wish me luck. And stay tuned.