Lesbian and Gay Parents and their Children: A Social Science Perspective

  • Charlotte J. Patterson
Part of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation book series (NSM, volume 54)

At the current moment in history, the extent to which relationships among lesbian and gay parents and their children are recognized in law or respected in practice is in tremendous flux. For many years, the family relationships of lesbian and gay parents and their children were not legally recognized in most parts of the United States, or in most countries of the world. Today, these relationships are recognized in some jurisdictions, and the matter is under active debate in others. With regard to the social and legal status of lesbian and gay relationships, we are living in a time of tremendous and rapid change.

In view of the rapidly shifting legal and policy environments, my aims in this chapter are threefold. First, I hope to summarize the current status of legal and policy issues as well as conceptual and theoretical issues relevant to lesbian and gay parents and their children in the United States today. Second, I hope to provide an overview of research evidence about these...


Relationship Satisfaction Family Type Parental Warmth School Connectedness Adolescent Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I wish to thank the graduate students and others who have been my collaborators in the research described in this chapter: Raymond Chan, Megan Fulcher, Susan Hurt, Chandra Mason, Barbara Raboy, Stephen Russell, Joanna Scheib, Erin Sutfin, and Jennifer Wainright. Grateful acknowledgment is due to the Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues for support of the Bay Area Families Study, and to the Lesbian Health Fund of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association for support of the Contemporary Families Study. Thanks also to all of the participating families whose invaluable contributions have made the research possible. Finally, special thanks to Debra Hope and her colleagues at the University of Nebraska for their many efforts in organizing the symposium for which this chapter was written.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte J. Patterson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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