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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 13 / 161

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states through sodomy statutes. And the criminalization of these practices has had a negative impact on gay parenting issues in the nation’s court system (Patterson & Redding, 1996). There has also been empirically-supported evidence of discrimination and inequalities in state and federal laws that relate to custody and parental rights (Cullum, 1993). Ambiguous and vaguely termed definitions of “family” in a legal-context has resulted in laws and regulations that fail to acknowledge gay parents and result in unfair and unequal treatment of homosexuals in-comparison to heterosexuals in a court of law.

Discrimination is also bountiful in the regulations of some states in-relation to adoption. For example, adoption of children by either single gay individuals or couples is illegal in the state of Florida (while there are no limitations to adoption by heterosexual individuals or couples who qualify); studies have shown the presence of discriminatory practices and beliefs by social workers and child welfare specialists working in states where adoption by gays and lesbians is not illegal (Crawford, et. al, 1999). Many etiologic and historic indicators of homophobia and heterosexist discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons have been identified in the literature.

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