Yesterday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) launched its #Equality4Families campaign to raise awareness about the need to reform state laws so that they fully protect LGBTQ parents’ rights to care for their children.
The campaign launch comes on the heels of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court freedom to marry victory, which brings tremendous progress to the LGBTQ movement, but does not fully protect all LGBTQ families, specially parents and their children.
In nearly every state across the country, LGBTQ parents will continue to face obstacles in caring for their children because state laws have not caught up to the needs of the LGBTQ community’s diverse families. Many families are left vulnerable: parents can lose parental rights as they travel across state lines, may be unable to seek custody of their own children, or may not be afforded the same parental recognition as non-LGBTQ parents.
“No child should ever lose a parent just because the law refuses to recognize them as a family,” said NCLR Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura. “For as long as it takes we will be here, working to bring dignity and full recognition to LGBT parents and their children in every state.”
#Equality4Families is being launched to help couples like Julianne and Amy Le Baron, a married couple from Utah, had their children through assisted reproductive technology. They spent thousands of dollars establishing a trust and other documents to protect their children, and on the adoption process for all their kids. Although they are married, without an adoption, their parental relationships may not be respected in every state.
“All we want is for our family to be protected in case something were to happen to one of us. The legal hoops that Amy and I have gone through are not only anxiety-causing, they are extremely expensive,” said Julianne Le Baron. “Even though there is marriage equality across the country, we still had to adopt our own children to make sure we are recognized as a family everywhere. The fact that the laws don’t fully respect our family makes us feel like our family isn’t as worthy as others.”
#Equality4Families will educate families about the steps they may still need to take to protect their families and continue our work bringing cases and passing legislation to protect all LGBT families, no matter how they are formed.