Hastings Women’s Law Journal


Shannon Little


Many state legislatures have amended domestic violence laws to cover non-marital relationships, at the same time removing references to gender so that same-sex relationships may receive protection. The de-gendered domestic violence law is not a perfect solution. Abuse in a same-sex relationship may involve different forms of physical and non-physical violence that traditional laws do not recognize. Gender-neutral laws also do nothing to address or remedy bias within the courts. Finally, some gender-neutral laws face challenges for violating state laws or constitutional amendments restricting marriage benefits to heterosexual relationships. This Note surveys the landscape of same-sex domestic violence protections, provides examples of the laws' imperfect results and suggests that laws explicitly stating their intention to cover relationships of all kinds would perhaps create a better result.