I’ve been meaning to get back to this thread I started so confidently with “part I.” Without a “part II” it seems sort of silly. This post will make more sense if you go back and read that other one first.
Just the same I’m doing a brief recap. Maybe it’s like a running start. Maybe I’ll say something slightly different. I’ll try to summarize some principles and then go forward.
I generally support the legal recognition of functional/de facto parents. What I mean is that I think the law should recognize the people who actually function as the social/psychological parents of a child as the child’s legal parents. My primary reason for endorsing this approach is that it is, in a general way, good for children. I believe that children need stability in those primary relationships. (I think I could back this up with a lot of studies, by the way. ) So the law should protect them.
Now there is another thing about the functional/de facto approach. 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’m travelling now and this makes it a bit more difficult to manage the comments, but I came across this story in the paper today (long plane ride=read paper closely) and thought it worthy of note. It’s about single mothers in Vietnam, really, although it begins with the story of a group of single mothers from one village.
These are single mothers by choice, but as must always be true their choices were made in particular and specific circumstances–circumstances defined by culture and by history as well as all the other vagaries of time and place. I think the story struck me because some commenters here have been quite critical of those who would deliberately have children who are cut off from a genetic parent. I can’t help but wonder if people would say the same of these women who are in such a different context. (I should be clear that I cannot say myself since I am not particularly critical of the women who make the same choice here in my own culture.) Continue reading
I’m sorry to have been so long away. I’ve got very little internet access and not all that much time, either. But things should improve. Though this must get to sound like a broken record–I know there are comments but I cannot respond to them right now. (In fact, I cannot even read them–but I know they are there.) Patience? Maybe everyone is off having a lazy time doing summer things? One can hope.
So there’s a story I’ve been meaning to comment about for a while now and because it is the only thing I’ve got to look at here (no current events) this is the moment. It’s off of NPR a couple of weeks back. The idea here is just as there has been a significant movement of single mothers by choice, so there is an emerging movement of single fathers by choice.
It’s interesting to think about single fathers. Continue reading
I’m continuing on a question I got to last time, though the real genesis of this line of discussion is further back. I won’t retrace all the steps as you can just go back and read them over. I’m thinking about a hypothetical (which I quoted in full) that was posed by the Justice Bosson in a concurring opinion in Chatterjee v King.
Put briefly, the question is why should we worry that a step-parent might get to claim rights as a de facto parent? (You could ask this same question about a foster parent. The discussion would perhaps be different so I will not include it here.) In the terms of the hypo from the concurrence, why should we worry that Man might claim rights to the child over Mother’s objections? Continue reading
Okay, this is a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. In some ways what I want to talk about is as much how news is framed as it is what the news is.
Not long ago there was a whole spate of stories with headlines like “For Women Under 30, Most Birth Occur Outside of Marriage.” That particular article (which is from the NY Times) begins this way:
“It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.” Continue reading
A report out last week noted that kids being raised in two-parent families are increasingly being raised by unmarried parents. Indeed,
American children are more likely to have parents who never married than parents who are divorced.
That is one finding in the latest report from the National Marriage Project, which is based at the University of Virginia and which conducts research on marriage and family in the United States. Specifically, the report says, 42 percent of children have lived with cohabiting parents by age 12, while only 24 percent have lived with a parent who had divorced.
The underlying phenomena here is that more and more couples who have children are not getting (or have not gotten) married. Continue reading
There’s been a lot of discussion of the Baby Emma case, spurred by a recent decision of the Utah Supreme Court. It’s gratifying to have such lively discussion going on, but it can also be confusing to have so many topics at issue at once. I wanted to use this post to separate out a discussion of the choices Utah has made with regard to its adoption law.
One thing this does is take us away from the facts of the specific case involving Baby Emma. That’s one set of facts, but if you were sitting in the legislature in Utah, thinking about what the law should be, you’d probably also consider other possible scenarios. And you’d think more broadly in terms of general policies–facilitating the adoption of children is one, protecting the rights of biologically related parents is another. You might have to think about which one was more important and why, and then maybe you’d figure out what sort of legal structure would strike the right balance between whatever things you decided to consider. Continue reading
It’s striking to me that this Father’s Day seems to feature a celebration of non-traditional dads (or not even not dads) in the media. Remarkably, I’m on my third post of the day. There’s the sperm donor not father in the NYT and the accidental dad on MSNBC. Add to thatthe Seattle Times column by Danny Westneat on single dads. Continue reading
I missed this report from the Pew Center when it was issued, but this morning this media follow-up caught my eye. For me the take away here is that two parent families–and specifically gay and lesbian couple families–are far more socially accepted than single mother families. (They didn’t ask about single parent families, only single mother families.)
The study surveyed people about various non-traditional family forms. In presenting the results, the authors clustered respondents into three groups: Accepters (who generally accept the non-traditional forms and make up 31% of respondents), Rejecters (who reject non-traditional forms and make up 32%), and Skeptics Continue reading