This paper addresses how the law affects LGBQ-parent families. We first outline the legal landscape that LGBQ parents face in the US, underscoring that it varies drastically by state and creates inequity for families. Reviewing existing social science research, we then address how the law affects three processes for LGBQ people: desiring parenthood, becoming a parent, and experiencing parenthood. Our review indicates that the law affects if and how LGBQ people become parents. LGBQ people consider the law as they make decisions about whether to pursue adoption, donor insemination, or surrogacy and often view the latter two pathways as the most legally secure. Further, the law continues to be salient for LGBQ parents throughout parenthood and affects family well-being. Specifically, legal inequity diminishes parent’s well-being, the relationship among couples who are parenting, and parents’ ability to effectively advocate for their children in institutional settings like healthcare contexts. Finally, we address directions for future research for scholars interested in the law, family processes and outcomes, and LGBQ families.
KeywordsAdoption Donor insemination Law Familial relationships Same-sex parenting Surrogacy
We would like to thank the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Sociology for its financial support that made this research possible.
This study was funded by the Department of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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