Current Events in Family Law and Public Policy (2006-2012)
Part of Dr. Alan Reifman's Course Website at Texas Tech University

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Arkansas Supreme Court overturns ban on gay foster parents (June 29); further developments from 2008 ballot proposition (here and here)

Gay marriage decisions by New York State's and Georgia's highest courts (July 7)

Effort to amend Massachusetts Constitution to overturn state high court's gay-marriage ruling delayed (July 13)

Can 16-year-old in Virginia be ordered to undergo chemotherapy? (here, here, and here; July-September)

New Jersey Supreme Court decision saying same-sex couples must have same legal rights as heterosexual couples
(left to legislature to decide between civil unions and full-fledged marriage for gay couples; October 26)

New York Times article on some states' child welfare agencies forming "teams" of family and community members to provide input into child placement decisions: "Giving Troubled Families a Say In What's Best for the Children" (December 16)


New York Times article on need for programs to help children who've lived for years in foster care prepare for transition to independent living at age 18:  "Offering Help for Former Foster Care Youths" (January 27)

Local community-based program claims to reduce poverty and produce further benefits for children and families (original press release, February 2)

Proposed Massachusetts same-sex marriage ban fails to garner enough votes in legislature for placement on ballot (June 14)

Texas raises monetary compensation for foster parents [provides a brief overview of the workings of the system] (August 26)

Psychologists working as "parenting coordinators" after divorce, from APA's Monitor on Psychology (November)


States turning down federal funds for abstinence-only sex education, claiming ineffectiveness (January 7)

Minnesota law making it easier for young-adult children to stay on family's health insurance plan until turning 25, even if not in college (January 25)

Continuing controversies about whether race/ethnicity should be taken into account in adoption placements (May 27)

New York Gov. David Paterson reveals plan for how his state -- which does not have same-sex marriage -- would still recognize same-sex marriages from out-of-state (May 29); UPDATE on court ruling (September 2)

Resolution (for now) of Texas polygamy situation (June 3;  see also this timeline of events and this article from earlier in the legal proceedings; for discussion of polygamy and the law, in general, see this January 2009 blog posting and the Krause & Meyer book, pp. 43-44)

Custody dispute in Virginia over dissolved Vermont civil union (June 6); follow-up article "Mrs. Kramer vs. Mrs. Kramer" from Newsweek on the case (December 6)

Rising child poverty in Colorado (June 11)

U.S. Supreme Court victory for workers regarding standards of proof in cases under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (June 20; thanks to Jean Scott for pointing out this decision)

Article from Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on private child-support collection companies (June 22)

Texas legislator proposes extending state's divorce waiting period to two years (July 2)

Massachusetts repeals policy that only allowed out-of-state individuals to marry there if the couple's home state would accept the type of marriage (July 16)

New York Times article about people who appear to be in situations where they must marry (or in some cases, divorce) to be sure of receiving health benefits (August 12)

Article on Texas law that waives marriage-license fee for couples who take premarital education courses (August 29)

Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin's views on sex-education (article also discusses federal and state policies; September 9)   

Newly enacted California legislation aiming to increase access to preschool and consolidate child-development programs (September 27)

"Safe haven" laws, which typically allow parents who do not feel they can care for infants to turn them over to authorities, are now being used by parents who find their teenage children to be unmanageable, in Nebraska (October 2); Nebraska amends law (October 20)

New Rhode Island law requires schools to teach about dating violence (October 6)

Connecticut Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage must be allowed (October 10)

A whole new meaning of the term property division:  Cambodian couple saws house in half (October 14)

Three states (including California) vote against same-sex marriage (November 6)


Michigan Court says state still has jurisdiction over same-sex adoptions, even with ban on same-sex marriage (February 20)

Iowa Supreme Court says marriage must be open to same-sex, as well as opposite-sex, couples (April 3)

Vermont, formerly a civil-union state, now adopts full marriage for same-sex couples as legislature overrides governor's veto (April 7)

Colorado enacts designated beneficiary law for same-sex and other unmarried couples (April 9; added to this page June 15)

Wisconsin governor seeks domestic partnership law that won't be inconsistent with state's ban on recognition of same-sex couples (April 12); domestic partnership law goes into effect (added August 10)

Maine enacts marriage for same-sex couples (May 6) -- Later repealed by voters, see below.

New medical specialty in pediatrics, focusing on child abuse, going into effect later this year (May 11)

13-year-old and his family in Minnesota court over chemotherapy treatment (May 26; see 2006 articles on similar case from Virginia)

New Hampshire becomes sixth state allowing same-sex couples to marry, as governor signs bill (June 3)

2010 U.S. Census will count marriages of same-sex couples (June 22)

"Florida Shifts Child-Welfare Systemís Focus to Saving Families" (July 27)

Texas state judge rules that "two men married in another state can divorce here and that the state's ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution" (October 2)

California faces tough choices in welfare policy during recession (October 7)

Louisiana Justice of the Peace refuses to issue marriage license to interracial couple, despite U.S. Supreme Court precedent from 42 years ago in Loving v. Virginia (October 15)

Obama Administration eliminates abstinence-only funding from proposed federal budget; program will die unless Congress votes otherwise (October 31)

Michelle Triola Marvin of "palimony" fame dies at age 75 (October 31)

Maine voters repeal right of same-sex couples to marry; measure to expand and solidify domestic-partnership law in Washington state is leading narrowly, with ballot count incomplete (November 4)

Rhode Island governor vetoes bill to give domestic partners (including same-sex) the right to make funeral and other post-death arrangements for their loved ones (November 11)

Washington, DC enacts marriage for same-sex couples (December 18)


Hawai'i governor vetoes civil-union bill (July 7; see 2011 for new information)

Federal sex-education aid no longer limited to abstinence-only (September; added February 2011)

Florida appeals court upholds adoption by gay man, ruling state's law banning adoption by homosexuals "violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution" (September 22); UPDATE: Gay adoption ban declared "dead," as state chooses not to appeal previous ruling (October 22)

Federal agency issues regulation that any hospital accepting Medicare or Medicaid funds must allow patients to designate their own choice of visitors (November 30)

Illinois legislature passes civil unions for same-sex couples; governor expected to sign the legislation (December 1; added to this page January 12, 2011); UPDATE: Governor signs the bill (January 31, 2011)

North Carolina Supreme Court invalidates second-parent adoptions in that state (December 23; added to this page January 3, 2011)


"Hawaii Legislature passes civil unions bill; governor will sign it" (February 17)

Bill proposed in Montana would require divorcing couples with children to receive marital counseling, beyond whatever requirements exist for parenting education (February 18)

Obama Administration Justice Department will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in courtrooms where it's challenged (February 23)

Major League Baseball sees first usage of its new paternity leave for players (here and here; April 22)

Delaware enacts civil unions for same-sex couples (May 11)

New York State enacts same-sex marriage (June 24; added to this page July 5)

Rhode Island enacts civil unions (July 2; added to this page July 5)

Mexico City legislator proposes two-year marriage licenses (September 30; added October 7)


Washington (state) enacts same-sex marriage; seventh state with full marriage equality (February 13)

Election Day: After 32 straight losses at the ballot box over the years, measures to approve (or pave the way for) marriage between same-sex couples pass in four states

Special Focus: Same-Sex Marriage in California

Sequence of milestone events spanning nearly a decade (2004-2013) that culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitting gay couples to marry in California: