June 22, 2023
LGBTQ Paths to Parentage Security: New Guide from GLAD and Mombian Helps LGBTQ Parents Understand Options for Protecting Their Families
Resource answers frequently asked questions about securing legal ties between children and parents in the face of a national patchwork of protections and outdated laws
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Mombian have partnered to create “LGBTQ Paths to Parentage Security,” a resource for LGBTQ+ parents and others that answers frequently asked questions about how LGBTQ+ parents can ensure their child-parent relationships will be secure and recognized in every state. It reflects the latest options and terminology as more states like Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Colorado expand access to ways of protecting children born via assisted reproduction and those with LGBTQ+ parents.
Not all states offer the same paths to parentage for these families, however. Because of bias and discrimination, both married and unmarried LGBTQ+ parents are advised to have the security of a court judgment to protect their child-parent relationships. Children have been pulled into the child welfare system because a parent who loves and cares for them wasn’t recognized as a legal parent, and non-birth parents who planned for and raised their kids have been stripped of their parental rights because a court relied on outdated laws that fail to acknowledge the existence of same-gender parents.
“LGBTQ Paths to Parentage Security” offers straightforward answers to questions like:
- What is parentage?
- Is it important to get a court judgment establishing that I am a parent?
- What if I am already on my child’s birth certificate?
- What options do I have to ensure my parental status will be recognized In all states?
- Do I need a lawyer?
Polly Crozier, Director of Family Advocacy at GLAD, said, “It is critical for LGBTQ+ parents to have the information and guidance they need about establishing and securing their legal ties to their children, in order to protect their children no matter where the family may move or travel.
“At the same time, states must update their parentage laws to better protect all children and families. States like Rhode Island are paving the way by passing comprehensive parentage protections and streamlining the process for confirmatory adoption,” she added, “We need more states to remove existing barriers to legal parentage, including outdated laws that leave LGBTQ+ parents and their children vulnerable.”
Dana Rudolph, Founder and Publisher of Mombian (mombian.com), an award-winning blog for LGBTQ parents, said, “One of the most frequent questions I hear from other LGBTQ parents is whether they need to take additional steps to secure their parentage, particularly if they’re already on their child’s birth certificate. This guide can help them understand why such steps are necessary and what their options may be.”
“LGBTQ Paths to Parentage Security” complements a new report, “Relationships at Risk: Why We Need to Update State Parentage Laws to Protect Children and Families,” from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), in partnership with COLAGE, Family Equality, GLAD, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
The report details how the current patchwork of parentage laws across the country – many of which haven’t been updated in decades – leaves LGBTQ parents and their children vulnerable. It offers recommendations for all states to update and improve parentage laws, highlighting states that have taken crucial steps to update their parentage laws in recent years, including Colorado, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – and states like Massachusetts, which has the opportunity right now to protect LGBTQ+ families with the Massachusetts Parentage Act (H 1713 / S 947).
Find “LGBTQ Paths to Parentage Security” at lgbtqparentage.org
Find “Relationships at Risk” at mapresearch.org/2023-parentage-report