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Queering Family TreesRace, Reproductive Justice, and Lesbian Motherhood$
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Sandra Patton-Imani

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479865567

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479865567.001.0001

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Family-Making and Citizenship

Family-Making and Citizenship

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Freakin’ Happiness …”

(p.23) 1 Family-Making and Citizenship
Queering Family Trees

Sandra Patton-Imani

NYU Press

I draw on the voices of the mothers we interviewed to discuss the lived experience of citizenship exploring in particular, the ways a range of lesbian-headed families have been positioned in a context of inconsistent and swiftly changing laws regulating same-sex marriage and adoption. I consider citizenship and belonging through parents’ stories about interacting with social institutions (e.g., churches), government agencies (e.g., the Veteran’s Administration), state and federal laws governing marriage and domestic partnership, and the child welfare system (e.g., transracial adoption). I conclude with a structural critique of marriage as a patriarchal institution, grounded in the voices of mothers I spoke with. Through this discussion of citizenship, I explore the complexities of embracing a systemic criticism of marriage, while simultaneously desiring the legalization of same-sex marriage in order to gain access to family protections.

Keywords:   Citizenship, Social institutions, Child welfare, Adoption, Belonging, patriarchy

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