Within the last fifty years, a transformation has taken place in American law. Before then, family relationships, like parent-child relationship, were clearly defined by biology or adoption. Marriage was defined by gender. Marriage certificates and birth certificates evidenced one's legal status. The transformation that has occurred was the legal recognition that took reality into account that relationships can develop without formalities. No longer can it be said that either one is in a certain status or one is not. Marriage-like relationships have been recognized, like civil unions, as well as de facto parenthood. American law has now recognized that marriage is an evolving, not a static institution with some jurisdictions no longer defining the status in terms of gender, that adoption is also an evolving institution, no longer excluding birth parents from the relationship. In essence, in American law there has been a recognition of the changes that have taken place both in society and science. This recognition still focuses on the family, defined in a multiple ways. It is the family which is the unit in society designed to insure the continuation of the civilization.
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