Tag: legal

Watch: LGBTQ Legal Experts Talk 2nd-Parent Adoption and Other Ways to Protect Your Family

Watch: LGBTQ Legal Experts Talk 2nd-Parent Adoption and Other Ways

Two LGBTQ legal experts recently spoke on a GLAD panel about second-parent (co-parent) adoptions, Voluntary Acknowledgments of Parentage, and other ways LGBTQ parents can secure our legal relationships with our children. Regardless of who is in the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court remains conservative, and these actions are an important way of protecting our families. Watch the video now.

Patience Crozier, GLAD senior staff attorney, and Joyce Kauffman, GLAD board chair and lead attorney at Kauffman Law & Mediation, are not only attorneys, but also queer parents themselves. They understand both the legal and the emotional side of all this. They speak about why second-parent adoptions are necessary (even if you’re married!) and what to expect during the process; how Voluntary Acknowledgements of Parentage offer some LGBTQ parents another path to legal recognition; how likely they think it is that marriage equality could be overturned and what might happen to existing same-sex spouses in that case, and more.

The summary? “The good news is that there are ways to make sure your family is legally protected, and if you’ve already taken those steps they can’t be undone,” GLAD says.

Their focus is somewhat on New England, which is GLAD’s ambit—but even if you live elsewhere, I think you may also find much of this useful, if only to help you then ask better questions of lawyers and policymakers in your state.

Watch the video here—but please also visit the GLAD website for links to all the resources mentioned during the panel, along with additional legal information on parenting and other topics.

Republican governor just made it legal to discriminate against LGBT people

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty)

Social workers can freely discriminate against LGBT+, as well as people with disabilities, thanks to the administration of Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott as of Monday (12 October).

The lawmaker, who once signed a bill banning discrimination against businesses with anti-LGBT+ views amid boycotts against Chick-fil-A, pressured the state’s regulatory board, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, to make the change to its code of conduct.

Flipping 2010 and 2012 LGBT+ protections, Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton pressured board leaders to vote to rejig the rules in favour of homophobes, the Texas Tribune reported.

The move was hailed by the country’s top social worker organisation, the National Association of Social Workers, as “incredibly disheartening”.

It comes after Abbott signed legislation in 2019 to bar businesses from being discriminated against for their anti-LGBT+ views. “Discrimination is not tolerated in Texas,” he said, somehow devoid of all irony.

Republican governor pressured board to make social workers discriminating LGBT+ people perfectly legal.

Abbott, the board members claimed, lobbied for the change because the code of law offered service users protections beyond what is provided by state law.

“It’s not surprising that a board would align its rules with statutes passed by the Legislature,” said Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze.

The vote itself happened during a joint meeting between the board and the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, which managed mental health regulatory agencies.

Yet, for social workers themselves, a sense of unease. Steven Parks, who works with child trauma victims at a private practise in Houston, called the change “both a professional and a personal gut-punch”.

“There’s now a grey area between what’s legally allowed and ethically responsible.

“The law should never allow a social worker to legally do unethical things.”

He stressed that the policy change will undoubtedly crater LGBT+ mental health even further: “There’s research to show that members of the queer community are at higher risk for trauma, higher risk for all sorts of mental health conditions.”

Trans prisoner receives gender surgery after legal battle

Transgender inmate Adree Edmo is being housed in a men's prison in Idaho

A transgender woman serving a prison sentence for sexual abuse in Idaho has undergone gender affirmation surgery, after a years-long legal battle and two attempts to castrate herself behind bars.

Adree Edmo had pursued a successful legal challenge against Idaho and Corizon Health Inc, the provider of healthcare for the state prison system, over the refusal to permit her surgery.

She underwent surgery on July 10, according to the Idaho Press, after successfully arguing that depriving her of treatment violates the constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment”.

The surgery is estimated to cost between $20,000 and $30,000 — far less than the state is believed to have poured into legal battles to prevent it from taking place.

Edmo was sentenced to ten years behind bars in 2011 for sexual abuse of a minor after performing a sex act on a male 15-year-old. She was 22 at the time.

Surgery: Governor Brad Little has repeatedly denied transgender inmate Adree Edmo's request for surgery
Governor Brad Little has repeatedly denied transgender inmate Adree Edmo’s request for surgery

The inmate was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by prison doctors in 2012, but was denied access to gender affirmation surgery, leading her to attempt self-castration while in prison on two occasions.

She sued for the right to undergo surgery in 2017, and was ultimately victorious in federal district and appellate courts.

Idaho’s Republican governor Brad Little had sought to appeal the ruling even further, to the US Supreme Court, but it declined to take up the case and permitted the lower court ruling to stand.

Despite burning through taxpayer dollars fighting the legal action, Little had argued: “The hardworking taxpayers of Idaho should not be forced to pay for a convicted sex offender’s gender reassignment surgery when it is contrary to the medical opinions of the treating physician and multiple mental health professionals.”

Appeals court found that denying treatment causes ‘ongoing harm’.

The ninth circuit court of appeals found that prison doctors “knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to Edmo’s health by rejecting her request”, causing “ongoing harm” to her.

The ruling doesn’t mean that all trans inmates in Idaho will be eligible for state-funded gender-confirmation surgery, but it could set a standard for providing surgery to certain inmates with severe gender dysphoria like Edmo.

Edmo is is scheduled for release in 2021.

A trans woman serving a sentence for murder in California became the first inmate to be permitted gender affirmation surgery in 2017. As of 2019, a total of seven inmates in California have undergone gender affirmation surgery, according to public records.

Trump asks Supreme Court to make it legal to ban same-sex couples from adopting

Trump asks Supreme Court to make it legal to ban

Photo via Proud Parenting Family Photo Gallery

The Trump Administration has filed a new law brief with the Supreme Court. In it, the administration argues that adoption agencies should have a right to refuse to home children with same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

The debate rose out of the City of Philadelphia, where the city itself had a contract with Catholic Social Services to help place needy children in foster and adoptive care. The city terminated its contract with CSS in 2018 when the agency refused to place any of its children with same-sex couples, citing a city law that requires nondiscrimination by all agencies contracting with the city government. CSS claimed it would not abide by the regulation, citing religious exemption.

The Trump administration continues to claim that Donald Trump is the most pro-LGBTQ president in historyAn assessment of actions by the administration, however, reveals that Trump is actually the most anti-LGBTQ president in American history.

via Queerty