The Catholic University of America

Rev. Raymond C. O'Brien's article Obergefell’s Impact on Functional Families, 66 Cath. U. L. Rev. 363 (2017) was quoted in the recent Vermont Supreme Court opinion in Sinnott v. Peck, 2017.

Obergefell’s Impact on Functional Families

Raymond C. O'Brien
66 Cath. U. L. Rev. 363 (2017)


More than forty percent of children born in America are born to unmarried parents and only half of all cohabitating adults in America are currently married. While many children are born to single parents, others are part of the two-person unmarried cohabiting functional family paradigm. What is the status of these children?

This article examines the changing paradigm of parental status, specifically vis-à-vis homosexual couples with children, and the rights of the non-biological parent after separation. This article examines the changes in law in regards to unmarried parents leading up to the Uniform Parentage Act. It describes the equitable remedies that became available over the past two decades to unmarried parents and how the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell will likely create an important paradigm shift in how courts deal with such cases in the future now that marriage is available to same-sex parents.

Click here to view the article.

Click here to read Sinnott v. Peck, with O'Brien quote on Paragraph 51 of the Dissent.

Rev. Raymond C. O'Brien  

Rev. Raymond C. O'Brien's, Professor of Law, Areas of Expertise

Rights of children

Domestic relations and family law


For additional information about our professors' areas of speciality, see his faculty profile page.