Through in-depth interviews with 137 LGBT parents, Amanda K. Baumle and D’Lane R. Compton examine the role of the law in the lives of LGBT parents and how individuals use the law when making decisions about family formation or parenting. Baumle and Compton explore the ways in which LGBT parents participate in the process of constructing legality through accepting, modifying, or rejecting legal meanings about their families. Few groups encounter as much variation in access to everyday legal rights pertaining to the family as do LGBT parents. This complexity and variation in legal environments provides a rather unique opportunity to examine the manner in which legal context affects the ways in which individuals come to understand the meaning and utility of the law for their lives. The authors conclude that legality is constructed through a complex interplay of legal context, social networks, individual characteristics, and familial desires. Ultimately, the stories of LGBT parents in this book reflect a rich and varied relationship between the law, the state, and the private family goals of individuals.
“Creatively and insightfully relying on remarkably rich data from in-depth interviews with LGBT parents and would-be parents, authors Amanda K. Baumle and D’Lane R. Compton meticulously document the great power that law has on LGBT families. At the same time, they also skillfully demonstrate the greater power of love: how LGBT families show resilience and resourcefulness in working with, navigating and challenging the law.”
—Brian Powell, co-author of Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family
“Legalizing LGBT Families is a must read for policy makers, lawyers, activists and LGBT parents. The book tells the important story of how same-sex families make sense of a rapidly shifting legal landscape. By foregrounding the voices of LGBT parents Baumle and Compton vividly demonstrate the dedication, creativity and detective work these parents and partners must do to secure safety and protection for their families.”
—C. J. Pascoe, author of Dude, You’re a Fag
A demographic portrait of gay and lesbian couples who live together in committed relationships.
Addressing the lack of understanding regarding the lives of same-sex couples, this book examines the sociodemographic characteristics of partnered gay men and lesbians. The authors draw on U.S. census data to present quantitative analyses of topics pertaining to gay men and lesbians that have previously been relatively unexamined or assessed mainly through qualitative studies. We explore where gay men and lesbians live, why they choose those residences, income inequality, occupations, dimensions of family attachments, relationship commitments, and family structures. The census data allows the authors to provide a more detailed representation of many of the essential features in the lives of gay men and lesbians compared to those of married and cohabiting heterosexuals. In certain cases, the data and analyses reinforce current stereotypes, while in other cases they challenge preexisting beliefs. Ultimately, this book provides a foundation for future research, policy, law, and understanding regarding gay men and lesbians.
Amanda K. Baumle is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Houston and the author of Demography in Transition: Emerging Trends in Population Studies. D’Lane Compton is an Associate Professor at University of New Orleans. Dudley L. Poston Jr. is Professor of Sociology and George T. and Gladys H. Abell Professor of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. He is the author or editor of many books, including (with Michael Micklin) Handbook of Population.