Battle of the (Same) Sexes: The Licensing of Gay Marriages by One State Would Have Deep Implications for the Other 49

By Murray, Frank J. | Insight on the News, December 4, 1995 | Go to article overview

Battle of the (Same) Sexes: The Licensing of Gay Marriages by One State Would Have Deep Implications for the Other 49


Murray, Frank J., Insight on the News


The licensing of gay marriages by one state would have deep implications for the other 49.

Like divorcing husbands and wives, partners in collapsing gay unions fight over the children. To the regret of conservatives, who've shown less taste for the fight than homosexual activists, related court cases around the country are paving a legal pathway toward parental prerogatives for same-sex partners that would broaden custody rights.

One recent legal battle illustrates the complexities involved in the issue. A lesbian mother of a child born by artificial insemination challenged her estranged lover in a Wisconsin court about visitation rights; the case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1984, Elsbeth Knott and Sandra Lynne Holtzman held a private wedding ceremony in Boston, exchanging vows and rings without a license. With the aid of sperm from an anonymous donor, Knott conceived and bore a son, H.S. Holtzman-Knott, in 1988. Holtzman supported the family and shared care of the boy. She taught him to skate, bike and fish, and visited his school.

The women, having moved to Wisconsin, split in 1993 after nine years of cohabitation. Holtzman had been barred from adopting the boy in Massachusetts (although the state's law changed after a 1993 court ruling involving female surgeons, see sidebar). Now she returned to court and secured visitation privileges. Knott challenged the court ruling.

In a touching interview, the 6-year-old boy told his court-appointed lawyer, Linda S. Balisle, that he considers both women his parents and wants to continue seeing Holtzman even though it upsets Knott. Balisle asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to allow the lower court ruling to stand, arguing that it was in the boy's best interest to maintain a relationship with Holtzman "openly fostered and consented to by Knott."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the ruling, but Knott took her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In October, Justice John Paul Stevens refused to block the Wisconsin visitation order pending the Supreme Court's decision.

The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, an advocate of gay rights, has sided with Holtzman, who stated in a brief, "If the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision is upset, it will destroy the right of all states to protect the relationships children have with the important people in their lives!" Indeed, the case raised broad issues during the protracted legal battle.

In friend-of-the-court briefs, for example, Lambda claimed that homosexuals make as good parents as heterosexuals, and the organization has provided studies showing that children in homosexual households are not more likely to be homosexuals themselves.

"Marriage is in effect a license to engage in sexuality that might otherwise be prohibited under law," says Evan Wolfson, director of Lambda's "Marriage Project" to legitimize same-sex marriage. "So the existence of [laws against sodomy], which I consider unconstitutionally invasive of people's lives, is an argument for marriage and not against it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Battle of the (Same) Sexes: The Licensing of Gay Marriages by One State Would Have Deep Implications for the Other 49
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.