Mark J. Hanson

Document Type



This is a time of great change for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender ("LGBT") community. Members of the LGBT community have gained increased awareness and rights. The United States Supreme Court found state sodomy laws that ban same-sex sexual activity unconstitutional. Thirty-three states have enacted hate crime legislation that protects members of the LGBT community. Recently from the streets of San Francisco, to New Platz, New York and to Sandoval County, New Mexico, LGBT couples have received marriage licenses despite being prohibited by state law. Other states, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont have enacted legislation giving LGBT couples either the same or substantially similar marriage rights now enjoyed by opposite sex couples. However, despite the recent achievements the LGBT community has enjoyed, there has been a backlash. In 2004, eleven states passed constitutional amendments that preclude LGBT couples from attaining equal marriage rights. These states joined a total of six other states that have restricted LGBT marriage rights. With all of these events, LGBT issues are now more than ever at the forefront of Americans' minds. The mediation field is no exception to this increased awareness. Issues have arisen between how the LGBT community and the family mediation field approach each other. This article reviews successes and problems coexisting between the LGBT community and the family mediation field. Section I reviews this article's thesis: that because the American legal system has long been inaccessible to the LGBT community, family mediation has served as the LGBT community's primary choice of dispute resolution. Section II shows that despite the LGBT community's long use of family mediation, major policy issues have arisen of how the LGBT community and the family mediation field address each other.