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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight Marriage and Family
 
  While glbtq people have formed unions, partnerships, de facto marriages, and many kinds of families for generations, one of the greatest shifts in the history of the Family began in the 1990s when queer families began to insist more vocally that they receive the same societal benefits as traditional families.  
 
 
  Adolescents depend on their families economically and socially. A homosexual youth's positive or negative identity is largely determined by the parent-child relationships the youth experiences during adolescence.  
 
 
  Adoption is an important way in which lesbian and gay couples create families, though there are frequently social and legal barriers to overcome.  
 
 
  Artificial Insemination is often used by lesbians and heterosexual single women who wish to conceive without sexual contact with males and is frequently the method of choice when gay men create families through surrogacy or co-parenting.  
 
 
  Boston Marriages Boston Marriages--romantic unions between women that were usually monogamous but not necessarily sexual--flourished in the late nineteenth century between women who tended to be college-educated, feminist, financially independent, and career-minded.  
 
 
  Children of glbtq Parents Children of glbtq Parents have been the subjects of more than three decades of research that has shown that they are no different from peers reared in heterosexual families.  
 
 
  Civil Union, which confers all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage on same-sex couples, was established in Vermont in 2000. Same-Sex Marriage superseded civil unions there in 2009, but other states continue to permit civil unions while prohibiting same-sex marriage, an arrangement many activists describe as "separate but equal."  
 
 
  Same-Sex Commitment Ceremonies are similar to heterosexual weddings. They are legally recognized in some countries, but generally not in the United States.  
 
 
  Custody Litigation between gay and lesbian parents has faced almost unremitting hostility in the courts of some states while others have declared that glbtq parents have the same rights and responsibilities as other parents.  
 
 
  Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) The Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 after having passed by huge margins in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The law, which remains in force, denies glbtq families rights and privileges enjoyed by opposite-sex families.  
 
 
  Domestic Partnership is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of Same-Sex Marriage.  
 
 
  Family is defined in different ways within the glbtq community. Many glbtq people reject a fixed definition of family imposed by society, while others insist their intimate relationships are the same as traditional marriages.  
 
 
  Glbtq Family Therapy is a relatively new field that merges gay-affirmative therapy with family systems theory. Its goal is to help glbtq people create and maintain healthy families.  
 
 
  The Gay Rights Movement in the U. S. developed after World War II and has grown in size, diversity, and visibility since the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Since its inception, the movement has addressed many different issues important to glbtq communities. Its recent focus on marriage rights emerged during the 1990s and continues to drive much contemporary political activism.  
 
 
  Grief--the experience of loss--is a universal condition of humanity, but glbtq individuals may face particular challenges in finding support to help them in their grieving process.  
 
 
  Grief Resources for those suffering from bereavement or other major loss can benefit glbtq individuals. Some are tailored to glbtq people, but many of those that are not are supportive of glbtq people.  
 
 
  Chris Hughes Philanthropist Chris Hughes (b. 1983) and his husband Sean Eldridge (b. 1986) have lent their voices and resources to the cause of marriage equality.  
 
 
  Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson Sharon Kowalski (b. 1947) and Karen Thompson (b. 1956) brought attention to an issue that many able-bodied gay men and lesbians had never considered: the importance of giving legal status to their chosen families. After Kowalski became seriously disabled, her anti-gay birth family gained control over her life, and Thompson was forced to go to court to fight for her right to see and care for her lover.  
 
 
  Legal protection of the rights of glbtq families has been a priority of legal groups such as the ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  
 
 
  Mixed-Orientation Marriages--those in which one partner is straight and the other is gay or lesbian--often end in divorce, but such an ending is not inevitable.  
 
 
  The New Right New Right groups, along with the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Evangelical Christians, are the most vocal and visible opponents of Same-Sex Marriage.  
 
 
  Parenting has risen in importance in glbtq communities as queer families have become more visible, but glbtq people have been parents throughout history.  
 
 
  PFLAG Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), an American organization of some 460 affiliated chapters and 80,000 members, works to support glbtq people and their loved ones.  
 
 
  Proposition 8 Proposition 8, the ballot proposition that amended the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, is the subject of ongoing litigation that may restore marriage equality to California.  
 
 
  Same-Sex Marriage Same-Sex Marriage has been a goal of glbtq activists and communities since the dawn of the modern lesbian and gay civil rights movement. Relative to some other nations, progress toward same-sex marriage has been slow in the United States.  
 
 
  Sexual Citizenship is a concept that draws attention to all kinds of social exclusions that various sexual communities experience, including the denial of marriage rights.  
 
 
  Diane Whipple (1968-2001), the coach of the women's lacrosse team at Saint Mary's College in California, was killed in a dog-mauling. The response of her partner, Sharon Smith, helped establish the right of same-sex partners to equal treatment with heterosexuals.  
 
 
  Evan Wolfson Evan Wolfson (b. 1957), founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, has been particularly visible in the quest for marriage equality.  
 
 
 

 
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