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Gay and lesbian parents face uphill battles in child custody

When divorcing parents are trying to determine what living arrangement is in their child’s best interest, it is important to take a number of factors into account, such as the community and school district. For some people in Illinois, sexual preferences may factor into that decision. When fighting for child custody, many gay and lesbian parents are running into roadblocks because of how some courts view their sexuality.

In 1999, a teenager reported his stepfather for threatening to kill the child and his mother. The child’s biological father, who is gay, sued for custody but was denied, and the child was required to remain in the violent home. Since then, more than a dozen states have legalized gay marriage, but new research from Drexel University points out that gay and lesbian parents are still receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to custody decisions. In many cases, the rulings take into account the parent’s sexuality.

Several studies over the years have demonstrated that gay and lesbian parents are just as effective as heterosexual parents. One report from Melbourne University goes so far to say that homosexual parents may even do a better job. According to one of the Drexel University researchers, there should be legislation that limits how a court may take sexual orientation into account during custody cases.

Anyone, gay or straight, who is fighting for custody of a child should consult with an attorney. A lawyer can build a strong case on a client’s behalf, citing case law, bringing forth expert witnesses and helping to make a decision that is truly in the best interest of the child.

Source: The Guardian, “For gay and lesbian parents, equality is a myth when it comes to custody cases,” Steven W. Thrasher, April 21, 2014 

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