May 31, 2018
Nothing is more important in a child’s life than the security of their family. Last month, we won a huge victory in Vermont toward protecting kids’ relationships with their parents that could serve as a model for states across the country.
The Vermont Parentage Act recently signed into law is a comprehensive Parentage Act ensuring new and critical legal protections for all children, including LGBTQ parents and their children. This groundbreaking law recognizes the diversity of families in Vermont and the reality of their lives. It makes the state’s parentage law equal when it comes to gender and marital status. It provides efficiency for the courts.
Most importantly, it means that every child in Vermont has a path to legal family security.
The new Vermont Parentage Act enumerates the many ways in which people can become legal parents, whether through birth, adoption, genetics, presumption, acknowledgment, adjudication, de facto status, assisted reproduction, or surrogacy.
The national 2017 Uniform Parentage Act provided a non-binding blueprint for states to consider when reviewing their family laws. But Vermont’s new law – based in part on the 2017 UPA and adapted to fit the needs of Vermont – makes it only the second state in the country to pass these groundbreaking reforms that modernize family laws and ensure fairness and access to the courts for all children and families – including LGBTQ families. These provisions clarify who has access to Vermont courts and enables parents and children to better secure their parent-child relationships.
GLAD has worked for decades to protect the core relationships of children and parents and to promote recognition of LGBTQ families in the courts and the law. Through GLAD’s strategic advocacy, including in my work on similar bills across New England and my service on the national Uniform Parentage Act Enactment Committee, we are encouraging other states to follow Vermont’s lead. Our goal is to ensure that all children and parents have equal access to the legal security and protection they need and deserve. We’ll keep fighting for families across the country, because there is nothing more central to the wellbeing of children than securing these critical relationships.