of the Parent: The Impact
on the Child
Mike Allen and Nancy A. Burrell
The raising of a child represents one of the most important interactions between individuals that exists in society. The Supreme Court of the United States in various decisions (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1964) has recognized the right to raise a child as a fundamental question of freedom. The courts have recognized that parents are provided the right to determine choices for the child. The courts give parents wide latitude in determining how a child should be raised. A parent is permitted to determine religion, diet, school' ing, and a whole host of other aspects of the upbringing of a child. The prem' ise is that parents should be able to raise a child according to the beliefs and practices of their choosing. As long as the practices represent no direct and recognizable harm to the child, the courts have been reluctant to interfere with the right of a parent to raise a child according to the preference of the parent.
The question of the sexual practices of the parent come into question when a marriage ends in divorce, and about 50% of marriages in the United States do end in divorce (although recent evidence indicates that this rate may be dropping). One of the issues regarding the process of separation is how to determine the custody of children and visitation rights, a major issue for separating spouses. The divorce represents a relational change from hus-