Diverse Family Structures and Equality of Children

I recently collaborated with Jennifer Johnson from the Ruth Institute on an article that got published in the Summer Newsletter of the Minority Trial Lawyer Section of Litigation for the ABA. You can find that here. This felt great, of course, and Jennifer and I are so pleased the article was picked up. A special shout out to my longtime friend and first-rate attorney, Florence M. Johnson, who gave me the opportunity to write and helped move this article where it needed to go.

Jennifer interviewed me recently to introduce the article and me to the RI audience and I am so very honored to be included. You can read the interview here. Let me say this, the list of the article we did together springs from Jennifer’s book, Marriage, and Equality. The focus in her book is that children are denied equality in family structures that are different than the natural triad – mother, father, and child. It is truly a great read that comes from the heart and is well thought out and well supported. My contribution to the article is asking the legal community to think about whether the legal system denies equality to children because there is really no focus on how the diverse family structures adults are creating actually create struggle and inequality for children. Below is an excerpt.

Due to no-fault divorce and “diverse family structures,” children often experience a form of inequality that is largely ignored. With lawyers and judges focused on a liberty that is defined as adults’ happiness with their family structure choices, there is little focus on the inequalities these choices create for children. The legal profession readily supports the thinking that a happy adult makes for a happy child, yet we disregard a century of jurisprudence linking the state’s interest in natural marriage to children and their formation, and the substantial body of literature linking children and communities flourishing with the stable presence within a family of married, biological parents. Nor does the “best interests of the child” standard address this form of structural inequality. Finally, it is only fair to consider the testimonies of the children affected, especially once they are old enough to separate appropriately from their parents, examine their childhoods in an objective manner, and then decide for themselves how fair and just it was.

You can continue reading the article here.

Enjoy! Yay us! – to quote London Tipton. 🙂