Living (Partially) Outside the Law

Arlene Stein

Several years ago, when my son was in middle school in a suburb close to New York City, he was required to fill out numerous forms. There were spaces for his mother’s first name, her last name, her work phone, and her home phone, and for his father’s first name, last name, work phone, and home phone. Even in that so-called enlightened town, where there’s a critical mass of children of gay and lesbian parents, the forms assumed that children have one mother and one father, and also that both parents (where divorce is prevalent) share one address.

Lewis placed Nancy’s name in the space that requested information for his “mother,” and where it asked for information about “father,” he crossed out the word “father” and wrote in “mother,” with my information next to it.

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Lack of recognition remains common, even in relatively liberal areas of the United States, where…

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About steinarlene

Sociologist and author. Writes about politics, culture, sexuality; engages in scholarly/journalistic cross-talk; editor of Contexts Magazine; professor, Rutgers University.
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