Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality
Rhode Island parentage law is 40+ years out of date and leaves children vulnerable.
Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality (RIPE) is advocating for legislative change to protect all families.
July 7, 2020 Update: The House Judiciary Committee is voting on the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act today, and the House will vote in full on July 16!
Take action today! Tell your Rep to support the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act and find a sample letter here.
Want to get updates, volunteer or share your own story?
Rhode Island families can’t keep waiting for the law to change – learn about their stories here:
Elana Hayasaka in The Providence Journal (May 2020):
Jesse and Ellen
Katie and Aarav’s daily routine will sound familiar to many couples raising young children. Each day they get up, make breakfast, and get 9-year-old Dhruva out the door for school. Aarav, a transgender man, leaves the house early for his work as a high school teacher.
Katie’s home during the day…
“Humiliating, invasive, expensive, and discriminatory.” That’s how Denise describes a process she and her wife Elana, the parents of two young children, feel they can’t do – second parent adoption. Instead, the Pawtucket residents want Rhode Island to fully protect their family by modernizing its laws governing parentage…
The couple had long planned to have a child and got married as soon as it was legally possible in the District of Columbia…
Since he was very young, Rolfe knew he wanted to be a dad. “Virtually every decision I’ve made in my life has been to enable me to be a good parent,” he says – for Rolfe that included becoming a lawyer so he could make a good living, to marrying Edward.
“Eddie had always thought kids wouldn’t be possible for him,” says Rolfe. “Then we met…”
Caroline and Ada moved back to the east coast when Ada was pregnant for the second time. The first time that Ada was pregnant, they experienced a life-changing tragedy, the stillbirth of the baby girl they called Button.
“After that, we wanted to be closer to family,” says Caroline. They moved from Arizona…
“We had been trying to have a baby for a year and a half and we were so thrilled to become parents and welcome our precious baby into our lives,” say Julie and Sabra, two educators based in Providence. “We read everything we could get our hands on before and after the baby arrived, and researched nearly every decision we made…”
Sara and Anna experienced the effects of Rhode Island’s outdated parentage law firsthand when they had their child. Their son Eli was conceived using assisted reproduction. “It took my partner and I two and a half years to become pregnant, I signed more consent forms than I can count,” Sara says. “My doctors…”
Why we need to update Rhode Island Parentage Law
The parent-child relationship is so important in the life of a child. The support and stability that comes from a legally secure parent-child relationship provides the core and foundation of a child’s well-being. In Rhode Island, not every child has equal access to establishing this core legal relationship. Rhode Island family laws are OUTDATED, leaving children vulnerable. With laws that haven’t been updated since the 1970s, there are substantial gaps in protections for Rhode Island children. The Rhode Island Parentage Act (RIPA) is legislation designed to fill those gaps, to recognize and respect the diversity of Rhode Island families, and to ensure that all children in Rhode Island have equal access to family protections.
Recognizing all families in our laws
The RIPA updates Rhode Island law so that it is constitutional, and it protects all children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. Among other important protections, the RIPA provides clarity on how to establish parentage for children born through assisted reproduction, surrogacy, and to same-sex parents who aren’t married. As the law stands now, children are not treated equally, with some having to wait six months or longer to establish their parent-child relationship. That is too long to wait and leaves children and families vulnerable.
Rhode Island families can’t wait any longer for equal access to family protections. Love makes families, and we need our laws to protect them.
Coverage of RIPE and Parentage Equality Press
Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality (RIPE) is a proud coalition of Rhode Island families and these partner organizations:
Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys | Adoption Rhode Island | American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter | Brown College Democrats | College Democrats of Rhode Island | Fertility Within Reach | GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders | LGBTQ Action Rhode Island | National Association of Social Workers, Rhode Island Chapter | New England Surrogacy | NOW Rhode Island | Providence Human Relations Commission | Resolve New England | Rhode Island Academy of Family Physicians | Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom | TGI Network Rhode Island | Thundermist Health Center | WOMXN Project