The Gap between Psychosocial Assumptions and Empirical Research in Lesbian-Mother Child Custody Cases

  • Patricia J. Falk


The phrase “lesbian mother” is still viewed as a contradiction in terms (Hitchens, 1979–1980; Hitchens & Price, 1979) by some segments of our society1: “Until recently, the existence of lesbian mothers was almost unrecognized in American society, for most people believe that homosexuality is inconsistent with the ability or desire to procreate” (Riley, 1975, p. 799). However, since the late 1970s, there has been a dawning appreciation that lesbianism and motherhood are not mutually exclusive categories. This trend has been noted in society in general (DiLapi, 1989; Riley, 1975) in the courts (Basile, 1974), and in the social science community (Gottman, 1989). Further evidence of the recognition of this “increasingly present population” (Gottman, 1989, p. 193) is the virtual explosion in the legal and social-scientific literature on lesbian mother families (for reviews, see Cramer, 1986; “Developments in the Law,” 1989; Gibbs, 1988; Gottman, 1989; Kleber, Howell, & Tibbits-Kleber, 1986; Steckel, 1987; Susoeff, 1985).


Heterosexual Woman Lesbian Woman Child Custody Heterosexual Counterpart Lesbian Mother 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia J. Falk
    • 1
  1. 1.Cleveland-Marshall College of LawClevelandUSA

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