Sunday, November 25, 2007

Law and Order: SVU

I'm not sure how many of you watch Law & Order: SVU, but I was watching a rerun on USA while finishing reading the Chauncey book. Anyway, it fell in line pretty well with the book (minus being really sensationalized at parts). To begin with, a girl is being teased by a boy at her school for having mothers that are lesbians (Kate as a biological mother Zoe as her other mother - I only use these to help differentiate later on). The 8 year old girl, Emma, stabs a boy in the back with scissors to stop the teasing. Kate is sick and in the hospital so Zoe acts as her guardian during the police interrogation. The next morning Zoe and a lawyer come in to suppress the confession because she never signed adoption papers and is therefore not her parent or legal guardian.

They arrest Emma, and Zoe is denied custody before the trial because she relinquished custodial rights prior to suppress Emma's testimony. Eventually Emma is acquitted and Zoe gets permanent custody of her. In the meantime, Emma has been staying with Kate's parents who blame Zoe for making her daughter a lesbian. Kate has died by this point, and under persuasion by her grandparents, Emma tells the police that Zoe has been sexually molesting her. The police realize that Emma is being coerced and arrest the grandparents for some complex thing that eventually boils down into a hate crime. Eventually there is a mistrial because it turns out that the lawyer for the grandparents were feeding them information that children raised by homosexual parents are more likely to be molested prior to the custody hearings.

Again, I realize that this is television and probably a lot more complicated than needs be, but I thought it was interesting and wanted to open it up to discussion about the way that parental rights for gay and lesbian couples are portrayed in the media. In this storyline, Zoe uses her lack of rights to her benefit her daughter, but in doing so loses her future ability to gain custody of Emma.

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