There are many routes to parenthood in the gay community. In addition to adoptions, some lesbian couples are opting to create families through artificial insemination. Gay men and lesbians with children from past heterosexual relationships are working harder to gain custody and visitation rights. And on the real frontier are gay men and lesbians joining together to create and raise biological children, often with long-term companions as co-parents, Fisher says.
"We have arrived even within our own community. When I started working for the coalition five years ago, [parents] were the invisible minority," Fisher says.
While marriage, family and parental rights are joining the list of civil rights long sought by homosexuals, opponents say the interest in homosexual family life is overplayed to cast a more mainstream light on homosexuality.
"It's perhaps a boom in more coverage," says Kristi Hamrick, director of communications for the Family Research Council in Washington. "The homosexual and lesbian activists have certainly tried to indicate that there is a movement that's becoming traditional."
But no matter how loving or stable a gay couple may be, they aren't what parents should be, Hamrick says. "Men and women are unique and different and bring different things to the parenting relationship. And a child needs both."
There are no statistics, says Roger Coggan, director of legal services for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center. But he believes there is an adoption and baby boom in the community. Mostly because the visibility of gay men and lesbian in all walks of life have made this path a little easier, Coggan says.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we are in a stage, or development as a society, where this is something that is more acceptable to society as a whole.
"Heterosexuals are beginning to know us more as human beings than as categories," Coggan says. "That factor is something that encourages gays and lesbians to be more out in terms of their children and also perhaps more willing to entertain the possibility of having children."