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When courts refuse to recognize science in custodial arrangements

No matter your personal beliefs on whether same-sex couples should be able to raise children, there is a bevy of studies that show that being raised by gay and lesbian parents is not detrimental to children. The problem is, however, that when some parents divorce because one spouse realizes he or she is gay, courts are reluctant to accept the results of those studies when it comes to making custodial arrangements. Unfortunately, there are many gay and lesbian parents who have a difficult time getting fair amounts of parenting time just because of their sexual orientations.

These judicial attitudes toward gay and lesbian parents was recently covered by a Drexel University study. It found that not only do some judges give greater amounts of custody to heterosexual parents, but that they may also do so even when the heterosexual parents' homes are less safe.

If Berks County parents cannot come to an agreement through the help of their family law attorneys, it is up to a judge to determine who should have how much custody. When making that decision, a judge is required to look at what is in the best interest of the child, which often means that both parents get some parenting time with the child. What it also means is that if one parent or his or her home is unsafe, the other parent should have primary custody of the child.

Hopefully, with greater discussions about same-sex relationships, marriages and parents, there will be a greater acceptance of what studies have already found: children are not harmed by having gay or lesbian parents.

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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