Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter presents case studies of the relationship between AIDS and two sets of family policies affected by AIDS; even more narrowly, it concentrates on these policies in a few selected cities and states. The first case study is that of public issues distinctly related to newborns and children with AIDS. In programs to keep children with their biological parents and in programs to respond to children who must be placed with others, New York and Florida have had to contend with familial issues under strained circumstances— issues of financial responsibility and parental control. The two states sometimes responded similarly and sometimes rather differently, but both of their responses reveal anomalies in public policies that bear on low-income families with children.

The second case study describes the efforts to gain legal recognition of nonmarital relationships, particularly the recognition of gay male and lesbian couples. We examine efforts in San Francisco to pass an ordinance to permit unmarried couples, including gay and lesbian couples, to register their relationship with the city and the quite different efforts in New York courts, legislatures, and agencies to expand the list of relatives entitled to remain in a rent-regulated apartment after the death of a tenant who had signed the lease. In each city, the issues had been debated before AIDS was a central feature of the city's life, but AIDS reshaped the debate in many ways.


National Research Council. 1993. The Social Impact of AIDS in the United States. Reproduced with permission from the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.