New NY legislation prevents courts from denying child adoptions to petitioners that are already legally-recognized parents

same-sex parents

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he signed legislation (S.3999/A.460) prohibiting New York State courts from denying child adoptions to petitioners who are already a legally-recognized parent solely on that basis.

The bill, signed by Cuomo, protects parents whose names were not on the birth certificate, same-sex couples, and parents who had a child through surrogacy from being denied adoptions when the parent petitioning is already recognized as the child’s parent.parent adoption

“All parents deserve the same rights and the same recognition under the law – period – and it’s unconscionable that this isn’t the case in every corner of this nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “These new protections will help ensure that all families are treated with fairness and equality and that no parent encounters unreasonable barriers in a court of law.”

“We are thankful to the countless same-sex couples who provide loving homes for children across New York,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Today’s action will protect the rights of these couples and furthers our commitment to ensure equality for the LGBTQ community.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “While New York’s laws provide strong legal protections for LGBTQ families like my own, sadly that’s not the case everywhere. With the passage of this law, we are reaffirming that non-biological parents have access to adoption proceedings in every New York court, regardless of whether state law already recognizes them as the legal parent of their children. By allowing these adoptions, we give parents traveling or moving outside New York State the opportunity to keep their families legally secure. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Assembly Member Amy Paulin for their work in passing this vital legislation, and Governor Cuomo for his continued support of the LGBTQ community.”

Assembly Member Amy Paulin said, “Despite the fact that judges already have the ability to grant adoption petitions and routinely have done so, there have been times where these petitions have been denied, causing surprise and stressful uncertainty for same-sex couples. With this law, we provide a guarantee and security that parents’ rights are recognized, both in New York and in other jurisdictions.”

While the spouse of a woman who gives birth to a child is presumed to be the child’s parent, same-sex couples find themselves in a legally precarious position when traveling beyond New York State, in places that do not fully respect the rights of non-biological parents. Under the new law, a New York adoption would be honored in another jurisdiction. This gives children the security that both their parents will be legally recognized wherever family members may be.

This new law takes effect immediately.

Click here to read the language of the Bill.

whcuradio.com, September 17, 2019

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Phoenix Business Can Refuse to Make Invitations for Same-Sex Couples

Phoenix Business Can Refuse to Make Invitations for Same-Sex Couples

With these fundamental principles in mind, today we hold that the City of Phoenix … cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance … to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, LC (“Brush & Nib”), to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Duka, Koski, and Brush & Nib (“Plaintiffs”) have the right to refuse to express such messages under article 2, section 6 of the Arizona Constitution, as well as Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act (“FERA”), A.R.S. § 41-1493.01.”Phoenix same sex

The case pitted the business owners against the city of Phoenix, with key elements including the concepts of artistic freedom, religious rights, and anti-discrimination laws.

The case began in May 2016, after Brush & Nib and its owners claimed that a Phoenix anti-discrimination law violated their artistic and religious freedom. They filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Artist Breanna Koski and calligrapher Joanna Duka founded Brush & Nib Studio in 2015. The company specializes in hand-painting and hand-lettering for weddings, special events, and home decor. They also sell ready-made products such as signs and thank-you cards.

“The rights of free speech and free exercise, so precious to this nation since its founding, are not limited to soft murmurings behind the doors of a person’s home or church, or private conversations with like-minded friends and family,” wrote Justice Andrew Gould for the majority. “These guarantees protect the right of every American to express their beliefs in public. This includes the right to create and sell words, paintings, and art that express a person’s sincere religious beliefs.

The business owners said that Phoenix City Code 18-4(B)(1)-(3) prevented them from exercising artistic and religious freedom by requiring that they create wedding invitations for same-sex couples.

Adopted in 2013, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. It applies to businesses offering services to the general public.

Brush & Nib Studio is represented by Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy and training group founded in 1994 to promote what it calls religious freedom, marriage and family, and the sanctity of life.

The Alliance Defending Freedom has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which condemns the alliance for its “anti-LGBT ideology.”

The alliance’s clients include Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. That case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court. In June 2018, the court ruled in Phillips’ favor in a 7-2 decision.

The Alliance Defending Freedom announced that it intends to hold a press conference with the Brush & Nib owners this afternoon.

phoenixnewstimes.com by Lynn Trimble, September 16, 2019

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Gay married couple sues after daughter denied U.S. citizenship

gay married couple

The Maryland couple’s infant daughter was born in Canada to a surrogate mother earlier this year.

A gay married couple in Maryland is suing to challenge the State Department’s refusal to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their infant daughter, who was born in Canada to a surrogate mother this year.

gay married couple

Photo Courtesy of Immigration Equality.

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, says a State Department policy unlawfully treats the children of married same-sex couples as if they were born out of wedlock.

The plaintiffs, Roee and Adiel Kiviti, had their first child, Lev, in 2016; he was born in Canada via surrogacy and has had U.S. citizenship since birth. However, their second child, Kessem, was born in 2019, after the Trump administration began enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provision that children born “out of wedlock” do not automatically obtain U.S. citizenship.

 

The State Department’s application team has in several cases categorized the children of same-sex couples that use fertility services, like sperm donors and surrogacy, as born “out of wedlock.” An attorney for the Kiviti family says their suit is at least the fourth such case to challenge the policy.

Immigration Equality, an LGBTQ immigration advocacy group, is leading the court effort to gain birthright citizenship for these children. The organization is working with the Kivitis and the other three known families suing the State Department for the same reason: Andrew and Elad Dvash-Banks; Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari; and Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg.

NBCNews.com by The Associated Press and Tim Fitzsimmons, Septemeber 12, 2019

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Gay fathers study shows they receive less parental leave than other couples

gay fathers study

Gay fathers study shows they received the same number of weeks off as different-sex couples in just 12% of 33 countries studied

Gay fathers study shows that around the world they receive less paid parental leave than lesbian or heterosexual couples, researchers said on Thursday, with many left struggling to pay household bills if they opt to spend more time at home with their children.gay fathers

The study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) examined paternity laws in 33 member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that offer paid leave to new parents.

First published in the Journal of Social Policy, the research found that gay male couples received the same number of weeks off as different-sex couples in just 12% of those nations.

Lesbian couples received equitable time off in just under 60% of the countries studied, researchers found after examining legislation gathered by the International Labour Organization in 2016. Some countries have since updated their leave policies.

“A lot of the differences in leave stem from gender stereotypes where women are the primary caregivers,” Elizabeth Wong, the lead author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“That not only affects heterosexual couples, it greatly disadvantages same-sex male couples.”

Laws in most countries did not prohibit same-sex couples from paid leave, but policies only referenced the needs of heterosexual couples and did not acknowledge same-sex couples.

As of 2019, same-sex marriage was legal in less than 30 countries, and gay sex remains illegal in about 70 countries.

The rise of far-right political parties around the world has raised concern around LGBT+ rights, and the fight for parenthood or adoption rights is a legislative battle even in countries like Germany.

On average, same-sex male couples had five fewer months of paid leave than different-sex couples, while same-sex females received three fewer months than heterosexual couples, researchers said.

The study did not address transgender or non-binary couples.

Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and Sweden were the only countries to offer the same paid leave to all couples, including gay men, ranging from 18 to 70 weeks.

While companies in Switzerland often offer parental leave to men, only a minority of people benefited, said Jody Heymann, a director at WORLD Policy Analysis Center.

“There’s little doubt that if you want to avoid discrimination, it’s far better for paid leave to be done through social insurance,” said Heymann of government funded public health programs.

A 2018 report from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center found that OECD countries that offered six months paid parental leave saw increased numbers of workers and no change to unemployment or economic growth.

Thomson Reuters Foundation by Kate Ryan, September 5, 2019

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The unintended consequences of Canada surrogacy law changes (Opinion)

Canada surrogacy law

There are unintended consequences to Proposed Canada surrogacy law changes.

Canada is considered an international surrogacy destination, with progressive laws that have attracted couples internationally. But, in just over nine months, a new Canadian fertility landscape will be born, bringing new regulations for reimbursing surrogates and donors. In fertility circles – both in Canada and beyond – there is fear that these new regulations by law will discourage people from becoming surrogates and donors.Canada surrogacy law

The new regulations from Health Canada, which come into effect June 9, 2020, set out exhaustive categories of reimbursable expenses – a big change from the current system, which does not specify what can be reimbursed and allows for wide interpretation of what constitutes a “reasonable expense.” That wide interpretation has allowed for flexibility in customizing fertility arrangements but may have a huge effect on Canada surrogacy law.

When the new rules take effect, eligible expenses will, for instance, include travel, insurance and legal fees, as well as counselling services and care for dependents and pets. The idea is to offer more certainty about which reimbursements are legitimate – and to allay any fears about being subjected to criminal sanctions.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor has said that the regulations would provide couples struggling with infertility, single individuals, same-sex couples and others in the LGBTQ2 community more flexibility in building families. Couples will have the option to offer surrogates reimbursements for certain products and services beyond the actual pregnancy and into the postpartum period, which was not previously the case. This might make it easier for couples to obtain a surrogate, as they can provide reassurance that expenses related to potential health complications arising after the delivery will be reimbursed. But at the same time, the new regulations introduce more onerous requirements for reimbursement by requiring surrogates and donors to complete signed declarations in addition to providing receipts (surrogates are exempted from providing receipts under certain circumstances).

The biggest concern is that the regulations will likely make it even more difficult to access assisted reproduction, including medical procedures such as in-vitro fertilization, to conceive a child with the help of a surrogate and/or donor. The fear is that the new regulations will further discourage individuals from becoming surrogates and donors. Currently, surrogates and donors in Canada are driven by altruistic motivations, since it remains illegal to pay a surrogate for her services or pay for ova or sperm from a donor. However, if potential surrogates and donors risk not being reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, they may be dissuaded from helping others build families.

Alarmingly, the draft guidance document interpreting the regulations released by Health Canada states that “[t]here is no obligation to reimburse, meaning that only persons who wish to reimburse eligible expenditures will do so.” This could lead to exploitation of donors and surrogates. (The guidance document has not yet been finalized; consultation on it closed on July 26.)

www.theglobeandmail.com by Melissa Salfi, September 6, 2019

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Trump Tells Supreme Court LGBTQ Workers Can Be Fired

Anthony Kennedy retirement

Administration continues to target queer people in the workplace

One week after the Trump administration filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that people should be able to get fired based on their gender identity, the president’s team returned to file yet another brief — this time arguing that gay workers should be able to get fired simply because of their sexual orientation.Kavanaugh court

The administra­tion’s brief on August 23 stated that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “makes clear that it does not” cover workers on the basis of sexual orientation, while the brief filed the previous week stated that the law “does not bar discrimination because of transgender status.”

In the brief targeting gay workers, the administration stated that Congress “of course remains free to legislate in this area,” even as Republicans in both houses have overwhelmingly continued to reject LGBTQ rights bills. GOP lawmakers most recently mounted strong resistance to the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and related federal laws to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That bill passed the house but faces dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The administration stated in the brief that unless Congress acts on LGBTQ discrimination, “this court shall enforce the statue as it is written.”

The Trump administration has mounted an increasingly aggressive assault on the rights of queer workers just weeks before the Supreme Court is slated to begin hearing arguments about whether LGBTQ employees are protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The president’s recent barrage of attacks on queer employees also included an August 14 proposed rule that would give federal contractors wide ability to use religion to justify discrimination against LGBTQ workers. That rule would effectively gut President Obama’s 2014 executive order implementing protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting.

gaycitynews.com by Matt Tracy, August 23, 2019

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China’s Parliament Says No to Marriage Equality

adoption by gay couples, gay couples adoption, adoption rights for gay couples, adoption for gay couples, adoption gay couples

Political leader says changing law would go against “cultural traditions”

Barely three months after Taiwan solidified same-sex marriage rights, political leaders in Beijing are shutting down any discussion of extending those rights to the Chinese mainland.China's parliament

Zang Tiewei, a spokesperson for China’s Parliament, told reporters during a recent press conference that Chinese law only allows for marriage between a man and a woman.

The discussion surrounding marriage rights in China is surfacing at a time of political uncertainty in Hong Kong, where protests have persisted for months over controversial extradition legislation and other political issues related to the future of the “one country, two systems” model under which the territory is governed.

Emboldened activists in Hong Kong have also set their sights on marriage rights in the former British territory, where a nonprofit organization called Hong Kong Marriage Equality was launched earlier this month, according to the South China Morning Post. Activists there are embarking on a campaign to educate Chinese people about LGBTQ rights and warm them up to the idea of same-sex marriage.

There have been some signs of progress for LGBTQ rights in Hong Kong in particular. China’s Court of Final Appeal earlier this summer ruled that same-sex partners in the city can file joint tax returns and that gay civil servants have a right to spousal benefits like healthcare coverage.

But no such progress appears on the horizon on the mainland. Tiewei, according to Reuters, stated that existing law “suits our country’s national condition and historical and cultural traditions. As far as I know, the vast majority of countries in the world do not recognize the legalization of same-sex marriage.”

Evan Wolfson, who spent years at the forefront of the American fight for marriage equality as the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, isn’t buying Tiewei’s cultural justification for rejecting the rights of same-sex couples in China.

gaycitysnew.com by Matt Tracy, August 23, 2019

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Trump has a devastating record on LGBTQ rights. Don’t deny the truth.

Trump LGBTQ

President Trump’s dismissal of “fake news” means his constituencies can believe whatever they want about him and his actions — even if their beliefs are in mind-bogglingly stark opposition to one another.

Religious extremists opposed to LGBTQ equality can confidently tout Trump as being down with their agenda by pointing to a speech in February in which Trump defended state-funded adoption agencies that turn away gay couples on religious grounds. Trump supporters who want to believe the opposite will point to a tweet he sent recognizing “LGBT Pride Month.”Trump LGBTQ

But it’s the religious crusaders who are correct — and in rare agreement with most LGBTQ activists. The Trump administration’s continued assaults on LGBTQ rights are nothing short of breathtaking. And yet, Trump’s supporters who don’t want to acknowledge this aspect of the administration find ways to bury this part of his record in the chaos.

Last week alone, there were two major salvos in the Trumpian war on LGBTQ Americans.

The Justice Department filed a brief Friday urging the Supreme Court to allow employers to turn away or fire transgender workers based solely on their gender identity. The department is expected to file a similar brief this week in a separate case asking the high court to legalize discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual workers, as well.

On Aug. 14, the Labor Department proposed a rule rolling back an executive order that President Barack Obama signed in 2014 banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination among federal contractors — an order that the Trump administration said in 2017 would remain “intact.” The religious right was ecstatic, while Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the regulation “a broad and sweeping effort to implement a license to discriminate.”

Yet, in the same week, in a stellar example of Trump supporters believing whatever they want, the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of “LGBT Republicans and straight allies,” announced its endorsement of Trump’s reelection bid in an op-ed in The Post. It was a particularly striking decision, given that in 2016, the group declined to endorse him . Now, it astonishingly declared, Trump has moved “past the culture wars” and taken “bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.”

What planet has this group been living on? And what has changed since the Log Cabin Republicans declined to endorse George W. Bush in 2004 over his support of a federal constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality? Trump’s record distinguishes him as among the most hostile presidents in history on the issue of LGBTQ equality. He is bowing to religious extremists in the GOP base in ways that could set back more than 30 years of progress, backing their demands for religious exemptions allowing discrimination. Even Bush, a devout evangelical Christian, didn’t roll back his predecessor’s pro-gay executive orders, such as one that President Bill Clinton signed banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce.

But Trump began unraveling Obama-era progress on LGBTQ rights almost immediately. Within its first weeks, his administration withdrew an Obama directive on treatment of transgender students. A few months later, Trump fired off a tweet announcing that he’d reinstate a ban — which Obama had ended — on transgender people serving in the military. This year, the Department of Health and Human Services moved to strip anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the Affordable Care Act.

WashingtonPost.com, August 20, 2019 by Michelangelo Signorile

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Families of gay kids were once seen as the enemy by support groups. That’s changing.

Families of gay kids

Families of gay kids were once seen as the enemy by support groups. That’s changing.

David Pitches, 74, a retired New York architect, never came out to his parents when he was a teenager growing up in Yonkers. “We were a silent family,” he says. “Coming out to them seemed to entail a family intimacy that I never had, or cared to have.”families of gay kids

Even after his parents figured it out years later, Pitches always felt they disapproved. “My father believed that gay people should lead their lives in private, and my mother never accepted it, even to her dying day at age 94,” he says. “Growing up in the ’50s was not a fun thing for a dreamy little boy who was gay.”

Even if families sought to understand the implications of their child being gay in what was, at the time, an anti-gay culture, they had nowhere to turn for support.

“The idea that I singly, or with them, would ever think to get some sort of therapy or program for coping was absolutely beyond their or my ken,” he says. “I was a deviant, and an embarrassment, who was best kept undercover or well-closeted.”

Fast forward to 2012, when Wendy Williams Montgomery, then a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discovered that her 13-old son was gay. “Learning this felt both confusing and scary for me,” she says. “It was never a question of: Do I still love him? Can I still accept him? My question was: How do I do this as Mormon? Am I going to have to choose between the God I love, and the child I love?”

For two weeks, she couldn’t eat or sleep. She sought understanding from the church, but found only hostility.

“The message I was receiving by my church leaders, family members, friends and printed text was that my son was broken in an irreparable way, and would have to suffer through a truly horrific life until he died, at which time he would be ‘fixed’ and straight like the rest of us in heaven,” says Montgomery, who quit the Mormon Church five years later.

Fast forward to 2012, when Wendy Williams Montgomery, then a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discovered that her 13-old son was gay. “Learning this felt both confusing and scary for me,” she says. “It was never a question of: Do I still love him? Can I still accept him? My question was: How do I do this as Mormon? Am I going to have to choose between the God I love, and the child I love?”

For two weeks, she couldn’t eat or sleep. She sought understanding from the church, but found only hostility.

“The message I was receiving by my church leaders, family members, friends and printed text was that my son was broken in an irreparable way, and would have to suffer through a truly horrific life until he died, at which time he would be ‘fixed’ and straight like the rest of us in heaven,” says Montgomery, who quit the Mormon Church five years later.

WashingtonPost.com, August 20, 2019 by Marlene Cimons

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Anti-Gay Tomi Lahren Dragged for Trying to Use LGBTQ People as an Issue Against AOC and ‘The Squad’

Lehren

Tomi Lahren, the Fox Nation host who’s been mocked as “white power Barbie,” could also be called anti-LGBT Tomi. Time and time again, often out of the blue, Lahren has railed against the LGBTQ community.

But now Lahren is getting slammed for a tweet she posted, trying to use LGBTQ people as an issue against the progressive Congresswomen known as “The Squad,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ilhan Omar (MN), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Rashida Tlaib (MI).Lehren

Lahren posted a link to a Fox News article, “Palestinian Authority bans LGBTQ activities in West Bank, reports say.”

If Lahren were an LGBBTQ supporter, advocate, or ally, perhaps her taunt might have worked, a bit, but she’s not.

Just two weeks ago, after the El Paso and Dayton mass shooting massacres, Lahren tried to use the LGBTQ community to advance her extremist pro-gun agenda, claiming gun rights are gay rights. It bombed.

A month ago Lahren told World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe, that she’s actually not a hero.

Earlier this year Lahren stoked outrage when she lied, falsely claiming “The Left” says “we MUST be tolerant of Sharia Law” and “stoning of gays.”

And in February Lahren went ballistic – out of the blue slamming the LGBT community for “this ongoing and continual assault on masculinity and “attacking traditional men and marriage at every turn.”

So, it’s not surprising that Lahren got totally dragged Monday for her latest ignorant tweet.

Take a look:

www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com, August 19, 2019 by David Badesh

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