April 2018

The Newclear Family: The Broadening Recognition of Non-Traditional Families and Where to Draw the Line

by Ally Nicol
In the past fifty years, American politics and public opinion have shifted regarding parentage and what constitutes a family.  In the wake of cases such as Holtzman v. Knott, Johnson v. Calvert, K.M. v. E.G., Obergefell v. Hodges, and In re M.C., the rights of same-sex and other “non-traditional” parents have been clarified and expanded.  Biology and marriage have long been the most commonly used means of establishing parental rights, and now those recognitions, particularly in the wake of Obergefell, are widely available to most couples. While this recognition has been long-awaited in the LGBT community, issues remain regarding legal parent status based solely on biology and the legal status of non-traditional families. As the law expands to recognize a more diverse spectrum of parents, new issues will arise regarding when parental status should not be granted, as opposed to how parental rights should be expanded.