Rich Dad, Gay Dad: The Wealth Traps of Gay Fatherhood

Research output: Article


While legal and societal progress has enabled gay fathers to form families, there remains a critical blind spot in our understanding of their financial wellbeing. Specifically, there are indications that a wealth gap may exist among gay father households. This article introduces a novel taxonomy of the mechanisms that likely contribute to a wealth gap for these households, including surrogacy and adoption costs, legal recognition expenses, parental leave policies, discrimination in housing and borrowing, and limited support from families of origin. These obstacles reflect the structural features and prejudices that disproportionately affect households led by non-heterosexual fathers. The article highlights the harm created by the wealth gap, conceptualizing it alongside the racial and gender wealth gaps. It argues that policies that create wealth barriers cannot be justified merely by biology, but are a result of the aforementioned obstacles. The article suggests possible interventions to reduce this harm, while emphasizing that policies aimed at reducing the wealth gap will also challenge the status quo of gender role division. Overall, this article fills a gap in our understanding of wealth disparities among gay father households and challenges the notion of gay fathers as a uniform and privileged group. It highlights the need for more research and attention to the distinct wealth barriers faced by different types of families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1426
JournalNorth Carolina Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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