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Gay Parents

Gay Relationships And Legal Matters

Legal recognition of unions (i.e., marriage) between heterosexual males and females has a longstanding history in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world influenced by Western cultures. Such recognition has set the standards for acceptable relationships and the benefits that they are believed to bring. One common benefit of marriage relates to the establishment of families and the rearing of children. Most countries in the world deny legal marriage to gay males, including the United States, Canada, and the preponderance of Europe nation-states. The Netherlands stands alone in its legal recognition of same-sex marriage, while Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway grant domestic partnerships for lesbians and gay males. The state of Vermont in the United States has granted partnership rights and recognition to persons who identify themselves as lesbian or gay.

Because legal marriage is denied to most gay males in the world, however, such individuals who choose to become parents face multiple challenges. These include seeking to adopt children, achieving custody of children from former heterosexual relationships, and gaining access to insurance and other employment benefits routinely offered to heterosexual parents. Notwithstanding these and other issues, many gay men choose to become parents and do so with much success.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsGay Parents - Gay Relationships And Legal Matters, Gay Fathers As A Distinct Group, Becoming Parents And Negotiating Parenthood