LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: “Imagination Station” Edition

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup: Post-Election Edition

Rounding it up again with various tidbits I haven’t covered elsewhere—including one about a Nebraska judge concerned that letting two women adopt would turn the court into an “imagination station”!

LGBTQ Parenting Roundup

Politics and Law: In the U.S.

  • The Connecticut Judiciary Committee passed the Connecticut Parentage Act (CPA), which would update the state’s laws to better protect children of all parents, including those born to non-biological, non-marital parents. (See my piece from earlier this month for details.) The bill now goes to the full General Assembly for a vote.
  • Some people in Hawaii are also trying to update that state’s parentage laws to allow make it easier for same-sex couples to establish parentage when a child is born (see my article here). A proposed bill was amended so that it now simply establishes a task force on the issue, which at least keeps the idea alive. Apparently some people were offended by the use of the term “cisheteronormative” in the original bill.
  • The Nebraska Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that had prevented a two-women couple from adopting the 3-year-old who had lived with them from birth. The lower court judge had said last year that state adoption law forbids a “wife and wife” from adopting, and to rule otherwise would make the court into an “imagination station.” The state Supreme Court kindly pointed out that the law says children “may be adopted by any adult person or persons,” and if that person has “a husband or wife,” the spouse must also join in the petition. Equality! Imagine that!
  • Virginia has enacted a law establishing second-parent (confirmatory) adoptions. Home studies will not be necessary (though the court can order an investigation and report in rare cases). It should go into effect July 1, 2021. Unfortunately, a bill that that would have repealed religious exemptions in child services, making it illegal to cite religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate, has died in committee.

Politics and Law: Around the World

  • New guidance that requires LGBT-inclusive education in England, Scotland, and Wales is “a huge step forward,” reports GQ UK, but although it “makes teaching LGBT-inclusive relationship and sex education compulsory, there remains no legal impetus for the teaching of wider LGBT issues or history.”
  • Two Irish women have become the first same-sex couple in the country to be legally recognized as the parents of their children from birth, after the full enactment last May of the 2015 Child and Family Relationships Act, which allows them both to be on their children’s birth certificates without a court process. (My usual cautionary note to same-sex couples in the U.S.: Being on your child’s birth certificate as a nongestational/nonbiological parent is important, but not enough for ironclad legal recognition across the country.)
  • Italy’s Constitutional Court has said the country needs a law protecting the rights of children of same-sex couples, but did not rule on the parental rights of plaintiffs in two cases—a pair of dads seeking legal recognition after becoming parents through surrogacy, and a nonbiological mom seeking parental rights after breaking up with the biological mom. Gianfranco Goretti, president of Famiglie Arcobaleno (Rainbow Families), the country’s organization for LGBTQ families, said in a statement, “Even the Council recognizes that our sons and daughters are without rights. It is only regrettable that, after having ruled this, the Court did not want to go further, leaving our families once again without the rights and duties that are recognized to other couples.” [“Anche la Consulta riconosce che i nostri figli e le nostre figlie sono senza diritti. Spiace solo che, dopo aver sentenziato questo, la Corte non si sia voluta spingere più in là, lasciando ancora una volta le nostre famiglie prive dei diritti e dei doveri che invece sono riconosciuti alle altre coppie.”]
  • Poland has banned people in same-sex couples from adopting, even if they are applying to adopt as single parents.

Education and Schools

  • The Leander school district in Texas has removed a number of books from the book-club-style units of its middle and high school English classes. “The books tagged for removal are primarily LGBTQ stories and graphic novels, as well as books that deal with sexual assault,” reports the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Entertainment and Media

  • The Gainesville Sun marked recent the 25th anniversary of The Birdcage, the hit 1996 film starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, about two gay men, a drag club owner and a drag queen, whose grown son asks them to tone down their flamboyance when meeting his fiancée and her conservative parents. The article speculates that the film might not only have boosted the reputations of its stars, but “may have helped make mainstream the idea of a non-heterosexual family.” Without minimizing the movie’s impact, I’ll also give credit to the 1993 Newsweek cover story about lesbians, which noted, “There have always been lesbian parents, but in previous decades they tended to be women who discovered their sexuality some time after marriage and motherhood. Increasingly, there are lesbian couples who are becoming mothers together.”
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