Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Symposium on Non Marital Families

The Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law at American University, Washington College of Law presented a symposium titled "UNmarried . . . With Children: Evaluating Legal Constraints and Social Judgments"on February 12, 2007.  Podcasts of the symposium panels, including, in the third panel, a provocative critique by WCL Professor Nancy Polikoff on the push for same-sex marriage, can be found at the following links:

  • Welcome Remarks / Panel 1: Legally Establishing and Protecting the Non-marital Family (01:41:42)
  • Panel 2: Limited Access: Obstacles Non-Marital Families Must Overcome to Adopt or to Utilize Assisted Reproductive Technology (01:48:20)
  • Panel 3: Obtaining Public and Health Benefits for Non-Marital Families (01:58:14)
  • (Last visited March 6, 2007 bgf)

    March 8, 2007 in Cohabitation (live-ins) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Domestic Violence as Human Rights Violation Alleged

    In a matter described as "the first individual complaint brought by a victim of domestic violence against the United States for human rights violations," the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a hearing on March 2, 2007 in the case of Jessica Gonzales v. United States.  The case, brought by the unsuccessful appellee in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005), was summarized in a public announcement issued prior to the hearing by one of Gonzales' lawyers, Caroline Bettinger-Lopez of Columbia Law School:

    In June 1999, Jessica Gonzales' estranged husband abducted her three daughters, in violation of a domestic violence restraining order. Ms. Gonzales called and met with the police repeatedly to report the abduction and restraining order violation. Unfortunately, her calls went unheeded.  Ten hours after her first call to the police, Ms. Gonzales' estranged husband arrived at the police station and opened fire. The police immediately shot and killed Mr. Gonzales, and then discovered the murdered bodies of the Gonzales children – Leslie, 7, Katheryn, 8, and Rebecca, 10 – in the back of his pickup truck.  Ms. Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the police, but in June 2005, the Supreme Court found that she had no constitutional right to police enforcement of her restraining order.  In December 2005, Ms. Gonzales filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, alleging that the police’s actions and the Supreme Court’s decision violated her human rights.
    A webcast of the March 2, 2007 hearing is available at (video) or (audio).  Documents related to Ms. Gonzales' case before the Inter-American Commission can be found at: and
    Ms. Gonzales is represented by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Human Rights Program (HRP) and Women’s Rights Project (WRP).
    Thanks to Professor Matthew Fraidin for this post.  (BGF)

    March 8, 2007 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Age Divides Opinions on Gay Marriage

    The growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in California reflects generational differences more than changes in individual attitudes, according to a study released Thursday. Two political scientists who analyzed two decades worth of Field Polls on the subject found that age was the strongest factor influencing whether someone opposed gay unions, with people born in the 1970s and '80s more than twice as likely to support them as those born before 1940. ''Californians born in each decade tend to be more accepting of gay relationships and more willing to grant them legal recognition than those born the decade before,'' said the study's authors, Gregory Lewis of Georgia State University and Charles Gossett of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

    Read the rest of the New York Times story

    March 8, 2007 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Proposed Legislation in Nigeria Severely Curtails Rights

    "Homosexual acts between consenting adults are already illegal in Nigeria under a penal code that dates to the colonial period. This new legislation would impose five-year sentences on same-sex couples who have wedding ceremonies — as well as on those who perform such services and on all who attend. The bill’s vague and dangerous prohibition on any public or private show of a “same sex amorous relationship” — which could be construed to cover having dinner with someone of the same sex — would open any known or suspected gay man or lesbian to the threat of arrest at almost any time.

    The bill also criminalizes all political organizing on behalf of gay rights. And in a country with a dauntingly high rate of H.I.V. and AIDS, the ban on holding any meetings related to gay rights could make it impossible for medical workers to counsel homosexuals on safe sex practices." N.Y.Times Editorial Link to Editorial (last visited 3-8-07 NVS)

    March 8, 2007 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    Law Review Article: Child Support Policy

    Vicky Barham, Rose Anne Devllin and Jie Yang, Public Policies and Private Decisions: the Effect of Child Support Measures on Marriage and Divorce, 35 J. LEGAL STUD. 441 (2006). The authors use data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (Canada 1993-98) to establish an empirical link between child support policy and the decision to marry or divorce.

    Li nk To Westlaw (last visited 3-6-07 NVS)

    March 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Law Review Article: Parental Rights of Same-sex Parents

    Linda S. Anderson, Protecting Parent-child Relationships: Determining Parental Rights of Same-sex Parents Consistently Despite Varying Recognition of Their Relationship, 5 PIERCE L. REV. 1 (2006). This article considers how states can retain the right to recognize or prohibit civil unions or same-sex marriages while also bringing predictability with respect to parental rights and responsibilities. The author proposes changes to the Uniform Parentage Act and state statutes that would place focus on the parent-child relationship rather than on the relationship of the parents.

    Link to Westlaw (last visited 3-6-07 NVS)

    March 6, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)