May 14, 2017
On this Mothers’ Day, GLAD celebrates the beautiful diversity of families in our communities.
All families, no matter what they look like or how they are formed, need and deserve security, but the law has not caught up to this truth in every case. GLAD is working hard to change that.
Whether you’re Mom, Mama, Babba, Papa – you are a source of love and support for your children. And whether you’re raising your children with a partner or spouse, by yourself, or are just considering starting a family, you deserve all the protections and benefits that come with that responsibility.
But while we know that all families, no matter what they look like or how they are formed, need and deserve security, the law has not caught up to this truth in every case. State law determines who is legally a parent and who is not, and some states lack a legal framework to recognize all kinds of families. That can mean cutting off access to rights and benefits, even leaving children and parents vulnerable to being separated from each other.
GLAD is working hard to change that.
In Partanen v. Gallagher, we stood behind our client, Karen, who was seeking to be named a legal parent to the children she and her former partner, Julie, raised together from birth. At the time, Massachusetts state law protected the security and stability of children of unwed, different-sex couples by allowing their non-biological parent to declare parentage through a two-step process. We argued – and won – that the state’s so-called “paternity statute,” previously accessible only to different-sex couples, must apply to all families, including same-sex couples.
This was an important win for both children and parents in the Commonwealth, ensuring access to a permanent legal connection.
Wherever you live, there are ways you can proactively secure your legal relationship with your children. In collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the National Family Law Advisory Council, GLAD developed Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families, which lays out steps you can take to legally protect your family, from second-parent adoption to entering into a written agreement clarifying your intent to jointly parent your children.
We hope you’ll take advantage of the information and resources on parenting we provide on our website, and reach out to us at GLAD Answers if you every have questions about how to protect your family.
On Mothers’ Day, and every day, GLAD recognizes all the hard and important work parents do to keep their families safe. We are committed to do our part to ensure their legal rights are protected.