Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Kazyak, Emily and Brandi Woodell. “Law and LGBQ-Parent Families.” 2016. Sexuality & Culture. DOI: 10.1007/s12119-016-9335-4


Copyright © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


This paper addresses how the law affects LGBQ-parent families. We first outline the legal landscape that LGBQ parents face in the US, underscoring that it varies drastically by state and creates inequity for families. Reviewing existing social science research, we then address how the law affects three processes for LGBQ people: desiring parenthood, becoming a parent, and experiencing parent- hood. Our review indicates that the law affects if and how LGBQ people become parents. LGBQ people consider the law as they make decisions about whether to pursue adoption, donor insemination, or surrogacy and often view the latter two pathways as the most legally secure. Further, the law continues to be salient for LGBQ parents throughout parenthood and affects family well-being. Specifically, legal inequity diminishes parent’s well-being, the relationship among couples who are parenting, and parents’ ability to effectively advocate for their children in institutional settings like healthcare contexts. Finally, we address directions for future research for scholars interested in the law, family processes and outcomes, and LGBQ families.