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Gay Fatherhood Goes Increasingly Mainstream

Author James Dunsford
Submitted 02-03-2009

Over the past decade, the idea of a gay man choosing to be a father seems to have progressed from somewhat of a curiosity into a more familiar scenario, as concepts about family and parenting skills evolve.

These days, there are a number of resources and a body of parenting advice available to support gay dads, as well as some public figures making headlines with their families.

For example, in 2008, Clay Aiken embraced the role of gay father in a very public way when he simultaneously came out of the closet and introduced the world to his newborn son, whom he had fathered with a surrogate.

“It was the first decision I made as a father. I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things,” the singer told People magazine about his decision to discuss his sexuality.

Gay men have also been increasingly going to court to protect their rights – or change the law altogether.

In November, Florida’s 31-year-old ban on gay adoption was ruled unconstitutional by a judge who said that research has shown sexual orientation is unrelated to the quality of a person’s parenting skills.

Meanwhile, a Californian gay couple who adopted their son from Louisiana also won a lawsuit which gave them the right to both be listed as parents on their child’s birth certificate, despite the latter state’s ban on adoption by unmarried couples.

A handful of states have similar laws in place, which are usually targeted at prohibiting gay adoption, but some are being challenged.

In the most recent case, which has not yet been decided, the American Civil Liberties Union in Arkansas filed a lawsuit to overturn a recently passed ballot measure that says unmarried couples cannot adopt.

It seems that these changes are indicative not just of increasing acceptance of gay rights, but also of the idea that men may be equally eager to flex their parenting skills as women.

CNN recently reported that more single men – both gay and straight – are turning to surrogacy to experience fatherhood, with or without a partner.