One of These Families is Not Like the Others: The Legal Response to Non-Normative Queer Parenting in Canada


  • Fiona Kelly



A growing number of lesbians and gay men are choosing to become parents. In response, provincial parentage laws have become increasingly inclusive of same-sex parents, though the presumption underlying most of the reforms is that queer parenting will adhere to a nuclear family model. The effect of this preference
for the nuclear family is that queer parents who engage in non-normative arrangements continue to find themselves outside the law. Perhaps most vulnerable are gay men, particularly in situations where they co-parent with a lesbian couple. This article uses the recent decisions of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal in D.W.H. v. D.J.R. to illustrate the challenges facing nonnormative queer families and gay male parents in particular. It argues that even in provinces with recent
parentage law reforms, deviation from the nuclear family norm poses serious risks for queer parents.