In the introduction, the authors provide an overview of the literature on same-sex families, the theoretical framework of legal consciousness, conceptualization of key variables, the study’s research methods, and sample characteristics. They describe the research question, which involves examining how the law becomes salient in the lives of same-sex families, how individuals navigate the law as part of their family decision-making, and how these practices and understandings of the law vary across legal context. They emphasize the ways in which legal context, namely the legal and sociopolitical environment within a particular state of residence, shapes decisions to become a parent, the method of becoming a parent, and everyday parenting. The varied ways that LGBT parents grapple with legality shed light on the manner in which the law can be, at times, embraced, manipulated, modified, or rejected by those seeking to create and protect family within a heteronormative legal system.
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