Equality: An Uncomfortable Fit in Parenting Law
parenthood, gender equality, gay, lesbian, single mothers, Family Law Act, same-sex parenting, separation
This chapter uses laws on parenthood to study the contradiction between the trend towards formal equality and ongoing gendered patterns of care, as well as the growing phenomenon of parenting by lesbians and by gay men and by single mothers by choice, by which a woman plans to be a child’s sole parent. Specifically, it assesses the innovative potential of the new Family Law Act (FLA) in the Canadian province of British Columbia, which redefines legal parenthood and alters the regulation of post-separation parenting. The new definitions of legal parenthood respond to calls for the recognition of same-sex parenting and reproductive technologies. The new norms on post-separation parenting respond to calls for equal treatment of fathers, but they also take account of research on the troubling impact of shared parenting law reforms regulating post-separation disputes over children. As such, the FLA arguably eschews strict formal equality.
Susan B Boyd, “Equality: An Uncomfortable Fit in Parenting Law” in Robert Leckey, ed, After Legal Equality: Family, Sex, Kinship (Abingdon: Routledge, [forthcoming in 2015]) 42.