Transforming Law's Family
232 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jan 2012
Release Date:05 May 2011
Release Date:15 May 2011

Transforming Law's Family

The Legal Recognition of Planned Lesbian Motherhood

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

In the past few decades, gays and lesbians, along with their families, have become more visible members of Canadian society, enjoying increasing levels of legal recognition. In Transforming Law's Family, Fiona Kelly explores the complex issues encountered by planned lesbian families as they work to define their parental rights, roles, and family structures within the normatively heterosexual tenets of family law.

While Canadian courts recognize lesbian parenthood, they do so only to the degree that lesbian families are equivalent to heterosexual families in form and structure. Issues that are largely unique to planned lesbian families, such as the legal status of known sperm donors or non-biological mothers, remain undefined within the existing legal framework. Drawing on numerous interviews with lesbian mothers, Transforming Law's Family sheds light on changing definitions of family and suggests a model for law reform that allows for the legal recognition of alternative forms of parentage.

The first empirical study in Canada to address the legal dimensions of planned lesbian families, this book makes an important contribution to family law, queer studies, and law reform literature.

Legal and interdisciplinary scholars, including those working in family law, lesbian and gay studies, sociology, and law reform, will welcome this groundbreaking book. It will also be a valuable tool for the queer community, particularly those engaged in legal activism.

An excellent survey of the changing regime of lesbian and gay legal recognition, including the challenges that culminated in the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2005 ... In light of the tremendous legal changes that have occurred in the past two decades and the claims by many that lesbians and gay men have now achieved formal legal equality, Kelly’s examination is particularly timely and important. Katherine Arnup, associate professor of Canadian Studies, Carleton University
Fiona Kelly is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia.


1 The Legal and Social Context

2 On Whose Terms? On What Terms? Lesbian and Gay Family Recognition

3 Defining Queer Kinship: How Do Lesbian Mothers Understand Their Familial Relationships?

4 Engaging with Reform: Legal Mechanisms for the Recognition of the Lesbian Family

5 (Re)forming Law’s Family

6 Some Concluding Thoughts on Law Reform and Progressive Social Change





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