Is this the age of the modern family? Reproductive technologies and non-heterosexual parenting arrangements have produced all manner of new families. And new research on parenting shows how functional these families are. Laws in Australia are adapting to these new arrangements — but traditional ideas about biology and gender continue to influence the way legislators and judges think about parenting.
'It is in the best interests of children to have both a mother and a father’. In a society where marriage, heterosexuality and family are so closely intertwined, such a simple, albeit clichéd, statement would seem uncontroversial. In fact, the idea of a mother and a father in a married relationship carries such political and cultural currency that it is hard to imagine having children in circumstances that do not fit neatly under the matrimonial rubric. So how do we then manage to contemplate a family unit that is not only unmarried, but has two mums or two dads?