What is Parenthood? Round-Up

Thank you for engaging in our Family Scholars Symposium addressing the themes in What is Parenthood?

All of the essays are listed below in this Round-Up post. Clicking on each author’s title will direct you to the page for that essay where you can add comments and join conversations that have already started throughout the two days.

We thank each of these scholars and opinion leaders for giving their time and careful attention to pondering today’s nuanced models of parenthood from integrative to diverse and everything in between.

Keep reading and joining the conversation!

Parentage by Contract as New Tool for Implementing Family Law?s Equality Project?
Susan Frelich Appleton, Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law and Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow for 2012-13

Responsible Parenthood
Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Green Professor of Law at George Washington Univiersity

Responsible Parenthood
June Carbone, Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair in Law, the Constitution, Society and Professor of Law at University of Missouri-Kansas City

Don’t Co-opt the Message: A Case for Family Diversity
Christine Dieter, 2012 graduate of Boston University School of Law

Two Cases for What is Parenthood?
Nancy E. Dowd, David H. Levin Chair in Family Law at the University of Florida and Series Editor of Families, Law, and Society within which What is Parenthood? appears

How Contrasting Models of Parenthood Can Help Us Understand Conservative Briefs Filed for — and against — Same-Sex Marriage
Linda McClain, Co-Editor of What is Parenthood? and Professor of Law at Boston University

The Power of Loss and the Power of Adaptation
Amy Ziettlow, Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Co-author of the upcoming The GenX Caregiver

Parenthood, Marriage, and Children
Laura Rosenbury, Professor of Law at Washington University


What is Parenthood? Christine Dieter

Christine DieterChristine Dieter, 2012 graduate of Boston University School of Law

Don’t Co-opt the Message: A Case for Family Diversity

What Is Parenthood? forces both sides of the marriage and parenthood debate into conversation about social science, biology, and legal analysis. This debate isn’t just about how to get the “best” results in parenting. It’s also about our core constitutional values, including commitments to equality, liberty, and personal dignity. Our right to make fundamental decisions about how to achieve basic social goods necessarily leads to a plurality of family forms. It’s not enough to look at empirical evidence, which in any event we probably cannot understand in any objective way. We must also consider our constitutional commitments. Read More


What is Parenthood? Amy Ziettlow

Amy ZiettlowAmy Ziettlow, Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Co-author of the upcoming The GenX Caregiver

The Power of Loss and the Power of Adaptation

Mortality. Adaptation. Life. Beauty.

I am a pastor, writer and hospice professional. As editor of the Symposium series, I hesitated to write as part of it, but I regret that we do not have a strong voice from the integrative perspective to add increased nuance to the discussion which is evidenced in the book. And thus, I write as a novice to the organizing categories in What is Parenthood?, but I hope that my reading as a layperson who culled much from both perspectives will add to our discussion. Read More


What is Parenthood? Naomi Cahn and June Carbone

Naomi CahnNaomi Cahn, Harold H. Green Professor of Law at George Washington University

June CarboneJune Carbone, Edward A. Smith/Missouri Chair in Law, the Constitution, Society and Professor of Law at University of Missouri-Kansas City

Responsible Parenthood

At the core of the discussion between those who would continue to privilege two-parent biological, marital families, and those of us who seek responsible parenthood irrespective of family form is disagreement on how to get to a society that provides greater support for all our families. We believe that the one prescription likely to have the greatest impact on family health would be a laser-like focus on employment: Provide better jobs for blue collar men at the losing end of the economic transformations and for single mothers struggling to get by and the family will take care of itself. The question of why more people do not create two-parent married families – and why American marriages and cohabitations are more likely to dissolve than those abroad – is not about morality. It is, instead, about the relationship between the family and the larger society. Read More


What is Parenthood? Laura A. Rosenbury

Laura A. RosenburyLaura A. Rosenbury, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis

Parenthood, Marriage, and Children

I applaud the editors and contributors of What is Parenthood? for making such a thoughtful and necessary intervention in family law debates. By taking parenthood as its central inquiry, the book avoids framing parenthood as a derivative, or even instrumental, inquiry of debates about state recognition of marriage. That focus is rare and vitally important. I wonder, however, if the book both does too much to distance legal parenthood from marriage recognition while also doing too little. Read More


What is Parenthood? Susan Frelich Appleton

Susan Frelich AppletonSusan Frelich Appleton, Lemma Barkeloo & Phoebe Couzins Professor of Law and Israel Treiman Faculty Fellow for 2012-13

Parentage by Contract as New Tool for Implementing Family Law’s Equality Project?

In Gender and Parentage: Family Law’s Equality Project in Our Empirical Age, my chapter in the What Is Parenthood? book, I argue for a diversity model of parentage that recognizes an array of family forms beyond the one mother-one father norm. Specifically, I contend that the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of family laws resting on gender stereotypes exemplifies a more expansive equality project, which in turn should doom any legal rules of parentage based on such stereotypes. I also posit that the doctrine of gender equality arising from such cases might well offer a stronger basis for a diversity model of parentage than empirical evidence showing generally how children fare well in families with two mothers and two fathers. Among various reasons I cite, I state that individual children should not be subject to a parentage regime based on generalizations, rather than their own particular best interests. Read More


What is Parenthood? Nancy E. Dowd

Nancy E. DowdNancy E. Dowd, David H. Levin Chair in Family Law at the University of Florida and Series Editor of Families, Law, and Society within which What is Parenthood appears

Two cases for What is Parenthood?

In What is Parenthood? Linda McClain and Daniel Cere bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars in a dialogue about parenthood, marriage, and the role of law, loosely organized around two radically different models. The integrative model generally views optimal parenthood as marital; optimal marriage as heterosexual (based on a perspective of sex differences); and optimal parent-child connections as biological. The alternative diversity model defines parent-child relationships not only by biology or adoption but also functionally, without attachment to a particular number or gender of parents, or to marriage as a preferred parental status. To the extent marriage is an available family form for engaging in parenthood, this model supports a broad definition of marriage that includes same sex marriage. The book epitomizes what Martha Fineman calls an “uncomfortable conversation:” providing a space for those who strongly disagree to engage with each other. The hallmark of an uncomfortable conversation is listening, even if there is no agreement, while also being attentive to areas of similarity and common goals even among positions often assumed to be in tension with each other. The overarching value of this book is that it challenges all of us to listen, even if we continue to disagree. Read More


What is Parenthood? Linda McClain

Linda McClainLinda McClain, Co-Editor of What is Parenthood? and Professor of Law at Boston University

How Contrasting Models of Parenthood Can Help Us Understand Conservative Briefs Filed for – and against – Same-Sex Marriage

As co-editor of What Is Parenthood?: Contemporary Debates about the Family, I welcome this chance to explain, in this online symposium, the book’s genesis and what it can contribute to contemporary debates about parenthood, families, and marriage. I will illustrate by commenting on two conservative amicus curiae (friends of the court) briefs filed on opposite sides in Hollingsworth v. Perry, one of the two same-sex marriage cases now before the United States Supreme Court. Read More


What is Parenthood? Welcome

Welcome to our What is Parenthood? FamilyScholars Online Symposium. Today we will be featuring a unique group of scholars who respond to the themes and debates highlighted in this new book.

For two days, we will feature the respondents at the top of FamilyScholars.

At the close of day two, we will publish one Symposium Round-Up post from me as Editor, which will list all the responses in one post. Please feel free to comment on each piece individually or on the Round-Up post. A new feature will involve a Symposium reflection which will be published next week from Elizabeth Marquardt, a contributing author to the book, and from Linda McClain, co-editor of the book.

Check in here throughout the two days and follow us on Twitter @FamScholars or me @RevAmyZ for live-tweeting throughout the two days.

We welcome rigorous, critical engagement in a context of civility.

Welcome to the conversation.