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There is no single definition of "family" in any dictionary or encyclopedia. Further, the understanding of the history of the family is distorted by myths, misconceptions, and generalizations. The American family has been evolving since colonial times.
This article examines the evolution of the American family, exploring how and why the family structure has changed over time, and what these trends suggest about the future of the American family.
Since the 1930s, Congress has enacted numerous federal statutes to address serious problems regarding family law matters that states have been either unwilling or unable to resolve, especially when the welfare of children is involved.
Legal protections provided to same-sex couples and their families are not always portable. States must give full recognition to adoptions and other types of judgments, but marriages and civil unions might not be recognized by other states.
As the nation celebrates the fortieth anniversary of Stonewall, leading advocates examine how the freedom to marry movement began; what work and events have shaped its progress, especially in the last year; and action steps for future progress.
Interracial marriage has increased since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, but not enough to change the way Americans think about race. Straddling the boundary of formal legality and informal criminality, interracial sex and partnership persists as an American leviathan.
Although there is a long history in this country of some children being raised by adults other than their biological parents, legal recognition of these families was not generally available until states began enacting formal adoption laws in the mid-nineteenth century.
As the Obama administration has indicated it will review the U.S. position on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), this article examines the CRC's conception of family, finding significant protections in place for parents and families.
Family-building with assisted reproduction is a relatively new phenomenon that has not only enriched the lives of those who use it, but has broadened the concept of what a family is. Along with it, though, have arisen unique problems having to do with the rights of the individual involved.
Thanks to the work of Evan Wolfson and Mary Bonauto over the past twenty years, the nation and its legal landscape has changed and we can all look forward to a day of equal protection and the freedom to marry.