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Same-sex couples face serious barriers in custody proceedings

Same-sex couples in Colorado and the rest of the nation have long been saying that there is a decided heterosexual bias in the courts, but little data has existed to prove that assertion. Now, though, researchers from Drexel University have determined that court decisions actually are far more likely to favor straight parents. This is a disconcerting fact for same-sex couples, who suffer because of the systematically discriminatory legislative and judicial trend.

The research in this case primarily focused on children who have one parent in a same-sex relationship. A review of literature and legal requirements surrounding same-sex parents showed that most states use discriminatory practices by considering sexual orientation during child custody proceedings. Parents who emerge from a straight relationship into a same-sex partnership are far more likely to be denied custody of their children, often for no good reason.

Further, when same-sex separation occurs, many non-biological parents are unable to enjoy visitation and other benefits of state family law simply because they are not biologically related to the child. It is difficult for such individuals to even be categorized as "parents" in many jurisdictions. So, gay and lesbian parents suffer discrimination on all fronts, no matter whether they are leaving a straight or same-sex relationship with children.

Judges, psychologists and attorneys have been urged to consider whether the state laws in Colorado contribute to discrimination against LGBT parents. Those individuals have the ability to prevent personal bias from determining the outcome of a child custody case. Experts say that there is plenty of research to support the idea that LGBT parents are in no way limited in developing a strong relationship with their children. These legal professionals have the power to appropriately interpret the law, allowing for LGBT parents to enjoy the full protection of the court when deciding the custody of children.

Source: Medical Daily, "LGBT Parents' Custody Battles Are Rife With Heterosexual Bias In The Courts" Justin Caba, Apr. 15, 2014

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