For more than a decade, lesbians and gay men have been raising children without first bearing those children within the context of a heterosexual relationship. This case concerns the future of Ry R.-Y., a child born into one of the earliest such planned families. Given the recent prevalence of such families, courts will be increasingly called upon to apply common law doctrine to this new family form. Amici urge that, in applying the relevant common law principles to Ry’s family, this court understand and re-spect both the context within which her family was created and the family’s specific structure.
Amici have consistently advocated that courts should apply certain overriding principles to cases involving planned lesbian and gay families. Three such principles are: 1) a biological connection is neither a necessary nor a sufficient basis for establishing parenthood; 2) agreements, particularly when coupled with an ongoing course of conduct, establishing the in-tent of a biological parent either to share parenting with another person or to relinquish parental rights should be upheld; and 3) a child’s experience of his or her family, which may include two, less than two, or more than two parents, is critical to any legal analysis. As discussed below, estoppel doctrine allows this case to be decided in a manner consistent with the above principles.
I argued both that a child in a planned lesbian family can define parenthood without re-gard to biology and that the doctrine of equitable estoppel permits a court to recognize that reality.
Bowers v. Hardwick amicus curiae brief in support of respondents is submitted on behalf of the Lesbian Rights Project, Women's Legal Defense Fund, Equal
DOJ guidance for mentally impaired detainees in immigration removal proceedings should be amended to provide counsel at earlier signs of incompetence.
Voting rights advocates should explore section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act as a vehicle to combat voter intimidation.