NCLR Applauds Court Ruling Striking Down Adoption Ban

September 22, 2010

Court Rules Florida’s Anti-Gay Adoption Law Is Unconstitutional

Today the Third District Court of Appeal in Florida unanimously upheld a 2008 Miami-Dade Circuit Court decision striking down Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban and permitting Martin Gill, a gay man, to adopt two foster children he and his partner had parented for years. Gill is represented by the ACLU of Florida. The plaintiffs presented numerous experts who testified that decades of research has proved that lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people are just as capable of being good parents as heterosexuals. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court’s finding that the state of Florida had failed to present any credible evidence to support the ban. The Court of Appeal held that the statute, which was adopted in 1977, violated the constitutional requirement of equal protection by categorically excluding lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from adopting.

In August, NCLR filed an amicus brief describing the history of the ban in an appeal of another Circuit Court decision granting an adoption to a lesbian foster parent and holding that the ban is unconstitutional. That case is still pending before the Third District Court of Appeal, which held a hearing in that case earlier this month.

In a concurring opinion in today’s decision in the Gill case, Judge Vance E. Salter also noted a decision earlier this year by the Second District Court of Appeal in Embry v. Ryan. In that case, NCLR represented Lara Embry, a lesbian mother, who asked Florida to recognize a second-parent adoption granted in Washington. The Second District held that Florida must recognize the adoption, despite Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“Today’s ruling, overturning the country’s only explicit ban on adoption by gay people, is long overdue. Thousands of children in the Florida foster care system need loving homes and families. This shameful law serves only to hurt children and discriminate against potential parents who can provide the love and care that all children deserve. We applaud the court’s ruling and congratulate the Gill family and our colleagues at the ACLU for this historic victory.”

Choosing Children

August 27, 2010

Twenty-five years ago, I was 25 years old and just starting law school at the University of Utah. I was parenting my daughter Emily, who was 4 years old with her mom, and my former partner, Lori. While it was uncommon for LGBT friends in our circle to be planning for parenthood, it did not occur to Lori or me that we were at the forefront of what would be termed the “gayby boom.”

Lori had been a single parent raising the then 1-year-old Emily when we met. We were just living our lives unaware of a sea-change that was just beginning when it came to issues of parenting and our community. While we were living that life, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Deborah “Chas” Chasnoff and her then life and work partner, Kim Klausner, were in the midst of writing, producing, and directing their groundbreaking film documenting this burgeoning movement. Choosing Children captured on celluloid the choice a growing number of lesbians and gay men were making, a choice that seemed both counter-intuitive and revolutionary: to become parents.

Up until this generation, most LGBT folks were parents because they had been in earlier heterosexual marriages or relationships and then divorced and come out, or vice-versa. In doing so many of them faced hostility from family and former spouses and countless numbers lost or gave up any hope for custody of their children.

Beginning in the early 1980s, a new kind of parenting began emerging. Led by lesbians, often in biological partnership with gay men, women began choosing to have children as lesbian-identified parents. Now, 25 short years later, the groundbreaking idea that lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender folks can also be parents seems, well, not so groundbreaking. In fact, it is now so commonplace that doing so is viewed by some in our community as assimilationist and pedestrian. Gotta love the march of progress.

But of course, what the fight for the right to be both LGBT and a parent is really about is the right to live a fulfilled and authentic life according to what gives joy and satisfaction to each of us. And in 1985 becoming a parent often meant rejection from both one’s family of origin and one’s chosen family in the lesbian or gay community. It also meant maintaining a pretense of heterosexuality or absolute legal vulnerability because almost every state prohibited openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from adopting, and few if any states provided any parental protections. It was a time of very little community or institutional support for you as a parent or for your child as the son or daughter of a queer parent.
Emily will be 30 next year. She is smart, lovely, creative, open-hearted, and generous. I can hardly believe I have a daughter who is near 30 years old. But then I also can hardly believe the progress we have made in the short time my oldest has been alive. Seeing Choosing Children again was inspiring for many reasons but most of all, it made me really stop and appreciate how far we have come and how much we owe those who blazed this trail uncertain of the terrain ahead of them. Filmmakers Chas and Kim, the parents featured in the film, our own founder Donna Hitchens—who provided legal expertise and commentary—did not intend to be pioneers, but they were, and we are all much better off because of the choices they made.

So please join us for the upcoming Choosing Children 25th Anniversary Screening and Reception, a film that is now a crucial and transformative story of our movement. Our evening together promises to be a celebration of how far we have come and a promise to not end our quest until every family is valued and safe.

Choosing Children 25th Anniversary Screening and Reception

What: Choosing Children 25th anniversary celebration to raise funds to permanently preserve this historical film on DVD
When: 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2010 (Program begins at 7 p.m.)
Where: Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA
Cost: $25 (regular admission); $10 (student admission)
Learn more!


University of Virginia Study: Adoptive Children of Lesbian and Gay Couples Developing Well

July 26, 2010

from The News Leader

Should the sexual orientation of prospective adoptive parents be considered when placing children in adoptive homes?

According to the results of a new University of Virginia study, the answer may be “no.”

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Why Gay Parents are Good Parents

June 24, 2010

by Jennifer Chrisler, Family Equality Council | CNN

This month we celebrate Gay Pride. But I’d like to suggest that we take this opportunity to celebrate gay parent pride.

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Gay Workers to Get Family Leave

June 21, 2010

by Phillip Elliot | Associated Press

The Labor Department is ready to tell employers they must give gay workers the same opportunity as heterosexual ones to take unpaid time off to care for their partners’ newborns or loved ones.

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Portugal’s First Gay Newlyweds Vow to Fight for Parenting Rights

June 18, 2010

from Portugal News online

A lesbian couple who have become Portugal’s first same-sex couple to wed in an official ceremony, since the passing of the law allowing gay marriage last month, have now vowed that the next step in their fight for equality will be to tackle parenting rights, including the issue of adoption by same-sex couples.

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Study: Children of Lesbians May Do Better Than Their Peers

June 8, 2010

by Alice Park | TIME

The teen years are never the easiest for any family to navigate. But could they be even more challenging for children and parents in households headed by gay parents?

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