“The Law’s the Law, Right?” Sexual Minority Mothers Navigating Legal Inequities and Inconsistencies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

LGB parents face a number of legal inequities and confront a legal landscape that not only varies drastically by state but also quickly changes. Research has shown that some LGB parents and prospective parents have inaccurate knowledge about the laws relating to parenting. Drawing on data from 21 interviews, I ask how sexual minority mothers gain knowledge about the law. I found that people were very aware of the legal inequities they face and sought to become knowledgeable about the law before they had children. Sexual minority mothers reported using four primary methods to learn about the law: doing independent research, relying on friends, relying on LGBT organizations, and hiring an attorney. The method upon which they relied was shaped by class. Notably, people received conflicting and at times inaccurate legal information depending on the method upon which they relied. Throughout the process of learning about the law, parents experienced anger, stress, and fear. These findings shed light on some of the inequities that sexual minority parents face insofar as they must expend added effort to gain knowledge about the law. The findings can also help efforts to ensure that legal knowledge is disseminated effectively, which is especially important given how quickly the legal landscape for LGB parents is changing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-201
Number of pages14
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 27 2015

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parents
Parents
Mothers
minority
Law
Lawyers
Parenting
Anger
hiring
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anger
Fear
Sexual Minorities
Learning
Organizations
Interviews
anxiety
interview
learning

Keywords

  • Law
  • Legal knowledge
  • Parenting
  • Second-parent adoption
  • Sexual minority parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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abstract = "LGB parents face a number of legal inequities and confront a legal landscape that not only varies drastically by state but also quickly changes. Research has shown that some LGB parents and prospective parents have inaccurate knowledge about the laws relating to parenting. Drawing on data from 21 interviews, I ask how sexual minority mothers gain knowledge about the law. I found that people were very aware of the legal inequities they face and sought to become knowledgeable about the law before they had children. Sexual minority mothers reported using four primary methods to learn about the law: doing independent research, relying on friends, relying on LGBT organizations, and hiring an attorney. The method upon which they relied was shaped by class. Notably, people received conflicting and at times inaccurate legal information depending on the method upon which they relied. Throughout the process of learning about the law, parents experienced anger, stress, and fear. These findings shed light on some of the inequities that sexual minority parents face insofar as they must expend added effort to gain knowledge about the law. The findings can also help efforts to ensure that legal knowledge is disseminated effectively, which is especially important given how quickly the legal landscape for LGB parents is changing.",
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