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The Right to Be ParentsLGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood$
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Carlos A. Ball

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814739303

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814739303.001.0001

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(p.21) 1 Mothers on Trial

(p.21) 1 Mothers on Trial

(p.21) 1 Mothers on Trial
The Right to Be Parents

Carlos A. Ball

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on lesbian mothers fighting for the custody of their children in the courts. It looks at early cases whereby courts were almost uniformly hostile to the idea that openly lesbian and gay parents should be awarded custody over straight parents, as well as to the notion that they should have unrestricted rights to visit with their children. It considers how courts have grappled with the question of the role the mothers' sexual orientation played in their ability to be good parents to their children, and the courage and determination of lesbian moms in battling to retain contact with their children. It also profiles more recent child custody cases pitting lesbian moms against their former husbands, with particular emphasis on the courts' increasing adoption of the nexus test in place of the per se standard in cases where the sexual orientation of a parent was at issue.

Keywords:   lesbian mothers, children, courts, gay parents, straight parents, sexual orientation, child custody, nexus test, per se standard

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