The Clinic's family recognition work reaches in many directions. We work on marriage and domestic partnership for same-sex couples through litigation and legislative and policy advocacy; second-parent adoption rights; custody conflicts involving the rights of individuals who function as parents but do not have legal recognition of their parent-child relationship; and more.
The Clinic participates actively in many of the cases around the U.S. seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Supreme Court - Amicus Brief in Perry ; Amicus Brief in Windsor
Iowa - Amicus Brief in Varnum
California - Amicus Brief: In Re Marriage Cases ; Amicus Brief: Perry Prop 8 Challenge
Connecticut - Amicus Brief in Kerrigan
Law review scholarship:
Always interested in leveraging our work, Professor Goldberg and two clinic students co-authored an article that includes and builds on the Clinic's amicus brief in the Iowa marriage case (1). Professor Goldberg has also published an article that encapsulates arguments from an earlier marriage brief she filed on behalf of historians in the New Jersey marriage litigation (2) and an article that expands on the arguments made in the Clinic's Connecticut and California marriage case amicus briefs, where the the question was whether the denial of marriage violated same-sex couples' rights even when the state already offered domestic partnership that provided nearly all of the legal rights and benefits of marriage. (3)
(1) Suzanne B. Goldberg, Sarah Hinger, & Keren Zwick, "Equality Opportunity: Marriage Litigation and Iowa’s Equal Protection Law," The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 2008.
(2) Suzanne B. Goldberg, "A Historical Guide to the Future of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples," Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 2006.
(3) Suzanne B. Goldberg, "Marriage as Monopoly: History, Tradition, Incrementalism, and the Marriage/Civil Union Distinction," Connecticut Law Review, July 2009.
The Clinic works with organizations and government entities around the U.S. to create and support the provision of domestic partner benefits.
Domestic Partnership Ordinance Project
Domestic Partnership Spreadsheet
The Clinic files briefs, provides background research, and otherwise is involved in efforts to secure legal protections for parents and children.
Second-Parent Adoption in Puerto Rico
Matter of AAR - The Clinic submitted an amicus brief to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court in a second-parent adoption case that aims to secure a child’s legal relationship with her two mothers. The brief focuses primarily on showing how international law, human rights norms, and comparative law from around the world can and should inform the interpretation of Puerto Rico’s adoption law to allow for second-parent adoption.
AAR Amicus Brief - English
AAR Amicus Brief - Spanish
Functional Parenting Rights in New York
Debra H. v. Janice R - On behalf of forty-five family law academics from all of New York State’s law schools, the Clinic submitted a brief to the New York Court of Appeals on behalf of a non-biological mother who is being denied parenting time with the child she was raising with her former partner. To reinforce the brief’s arguments in a more public forum, the Clinic published an op-ed in the Albany Times Union.
Debra H. Amicus Brief
Times Union Op Ed
Media coverage of Second-Parent Adoption
Matter of N. – At the request of the Surrogate’s Court in New York State, the Clinic, through Professor Goldberg, submitted a Guardian ad Litem report for the purpose of evaluating whether it would be in a child’s best interests for CNN to film the child’s second-parent adoption. The report relied on media, sociological and other studies to show that no expert evidence indicated that the child, who has two fathers, would be harmed by the exposure and, further, that increased exposure of same-sex couples parenting children together can help to alleviate biases toward gay parents and the children in their households.
Matter of N. Guardian ad litem report