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Copyright (c) 1995 by the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy
Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy

ADOPTION OF MINOR CHILDREN BY LESBIAN AND GAY ADULTS: A SOCIAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE

1995

Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy

2 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 191

Author

Charlotte J. Patterson *

Excerpt



Does adoption of minor children by openly lesbian or gay adults serve the best interests of children? Although forbidden in some jurisdictions, 1 such adoptions have taken place in other parts of the country. Considerable public controversy continues to surround adoptions by lesbian and gay parents. 2 In this article, I begin with a description of two actual adoptions which illustrate the difference between stranger adoptions, in which the biological parent's rights are terminated, and second parent or co-parent adoptions, in which a second person becomes a legal parent without terminating the legal or biological parent's rights. In this way, I hope to point out some of the needs that these adoptions satisfy. I then provide a brief outline of the legal status of lesbian and gay adoption in different jurisdictions and give an overview of evidence from social science research about the development of children with lesbian and gay parents. I conclude that there is no factual basis for claims that the adoption of children by lesbian and gay parents is harmful to children. On the contrary, there is every reason to believe, based on research findings, that children of lesbian and gay parents develop as successfully as do children of heterosexual parents. For this reason, and in view of the needs of children who are involved, I argue that for purposes of adoption proceedings, sexual orientation of prospective parents should be considered irrelevant.


I. Adoption By Lesbian and Gay Parents: Two Personal Stories


A. To Be Someone's Child ...
 
 
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