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Principle or pragmatism? Lesbian parenting, shared residence and parental responsibility after Re G (Residence: Same Sex Partner)

Date:23 MAR 2006

School of Law Queens University Belfast. In Re G (Residence: Same Sex Partner) [2005] EWCA Civ 462 [2005] 2 FLR 957 the Court of Appeal was called upon to determine the level of involvement and status to which a lesbian co parent was entitled following her separation from the biological mother of children they had raised together. The decision represents something of a landmark for same-sex parents. In his judgment Thorpe LJ took a principled approach designed to assimilate the appellants position insofar as it was possible to do so with that of a biological father in similar circumstances. In stark (and welcome) contrast to previous lesbian parenting cases it is difficult not to notice that the word lesbian does not feature once in the judgment. Whereas previously a mothers lesbianism has been a factor to be considered in cases arising under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 the exclusion of lesbianism as a relevant factor in Re G indicates that the courts are now prepared to countenance the reality of lesbians as parents as a matter of principle not...

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