Further Eroding the Concept of Family

In Eureka, two women roommates think that their combined households containing an adult child and two minor children constitutes a family. (Also here and here.)

Note that none of the sources claim they’re a lesbian couple, which would change the timbre of the case. The articles claim that they’re two people who moved in together to share household costs, and they’ve run afoul of a local ordinance that says homes can only be shared by families. It’s designed to keep owners from turning single family homes into multiple unit dwellings and to keep the number of roommates down from frat house levels.

The two women ran afoul of the one family per home regulation, and instead of seeking a variance in the one-family rule , they’re seeking to expand the definition of family to include unrelated and nonsexual unions of adults. You know, like a club or new dyad (why stop with two, though?).

It’s almost enough to make a fiscal conservative think that the social cons are onto something when they say that the whole concept of family is under sustained, although unrelated, assault.

If these two women and their children constitute a family in the eyes of the law, what does not? Also, into what other elements of the law would this ruling set a precedent? A roommate can get custody of a child when the roommates’ shared domicile dissolves? What about in the death of a roommate, can the roommate get custody over the kid’s grandparents? Will insurers have to start covering your roommates? These are not unrelated questions.

In our grandparents’ time, this sort of argument would be unheard of. In our parents’ time, it would have been laughable. In our time, it’s just plausible enough that it could go either way.