Introduction and Statement of Research Question
Research on gay and lesbian adults began in 1957 with a landmark study by Evelyn Hooker. By 1973, researchers determined that homosexuality was not a mental disorder, and, as a result, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness. In the years since that study, homosexuality, and homosexuals have gained increasing levels of acceptance in mainstream U.S. society. However, gays and lesbians continue to encounter discrimination in their communities, their workplaces and in the U.S. courts.
Because homosexuality has become more accepted in the U.S., an increasing number of gay and lesbian parents are choosing to seek legal recognition of their relationships and to start families. A number of options are currently available to these couples through adoption and artificial insemination.
California was the first state to allow second-parent adoptions in 1986. Since then, there has been an estimated 10,000-second-parent adoption in that state. The 1986 law is currently being challenged in California in the case of a lesbian couple whose relationship soured and who are now asking the court to decide whether one of the parents can still legally adopt the child born to them through artificial insemination. In Texas, a state legislator has sponsored a bill that would have originally outlawed foster child placed in the homes of non-married persons. The legislation was later amended to prohibit only gay, lesbian and bisexual couples from being foster parents. The legislator who sponsored the bill argued that in his opinion placing children in homes with gay and lesbian parents was the equivalent of child abuse.
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