July 21, 2020
Today Governor Raimondo signed the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act (RIUPA), legislation that updates the state’s 40-year-old paternity laws to ensure all Rhode Island children have equal access to the security of legal parentage.
The RIUPA fills critical gaps in the state’s parentage law, particularly for LGBTQ parents and their children. The legislation allows LGBTQ couples access to establishing parentage through a simple civil Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage, reducing the need for a burdensome, expensive and lengthy co-parent adoption process. It also creates for the first time in Rhode Island an accessible path to parentage for children born through assisted reproduction, as well as protections for children born through surrogacy.
Polly Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, issued the following statement:
“Today Rhode Island has taken a huge leap forward in protecting children and families in the state. Parentage laws across the country are still catching up to the realities of how families are formed now, and the people most hurt by that are children. By eliminating discriminatory, costly, and invasive barriers and enacting comprehensive parentage reform, Rhode Island has said loud and clear that all children – whether they are born to LGBTQ parents; through assisted reproduction; or surrogacy, deserve to be protected in every jurisdiction by a secure legal connection to their parents. Now, every child in Rhode Island has access to legal parentage regardless of the marital status or gender of their parents or the circumstances of their birth. I’m proud to have worked alongside an inspiring and dedicated coalition of parents and other advocates to champion the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act, and I’m grateful to the members of the General Assembly, particularly lead sponsors Senator Erin Lynch Prata and Representative Carol McEntee, as well as key agency partners at the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services and Governor Raimondo, for their commitment to seeing the RIUPA become law this year.”
Wendy Becker, advocate and organizer, issued the following statement on behalf of Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality (RIPE):
“Thank you Governor Raimondo for supporting justice and equality for children and families in Rhode Island. The parents of RIPE who have advocated for this bill year after year have been motivated by their love for their children, their desire to protect them and their passion for ensuring other children and families do not have to experience discrimination. They have shown up again and again to tell heartbreaking stories about the fears and consequences of not having a clear legal relationship to their kids – from not being permitted to make medical decisions or pick their child up from school, to the nightmare of worrying their relationship to their child wouldn’t be recognized if something happened to the birth parent. To have the legislature pass this bill, and have Governor Raimondo swiftly sign it into law, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has compounded these parents’ concerns, is a tremendous relief. I’m so honored to have worked alongside this community and thrilled, as are all the parents of RIPE, to see this day finally arrive. It is long overdue.”
To speak to parents who have been impacted by Rhode Island’s outdated parentage law, contact Wendy Becker at 401-477-4154 or visit www.glad.org/ripe
For more information about the legal impact of the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act, contact Amanda Johnston at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents and families who have specific questions or concerns regarding parentage should contact GLAD Answers at www.GLADAnswers.org