Pete and Chasten Buttigieg Announce They Are Parents

Buttigieg

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten are expecting a child.

Out gay US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, have expanded their family with a child!Buttigieg

In a tweet on August 17, the former presidential hopeful and mayor of South Bend, Indiana announced that he and his husband have become parents — and the couple expressed appreciation in response to the outpouring of love and support they have received along their parenting journey.

“For some time, Chasten and I have wanted to grow our family. We’re overjoyed to share that we’ve become parents!” Buttigieg tweeted. “The process isn’t done yet and we’re thankful for the love, support, and respect for our privacy that has been offered to us. We can’t wait to share more soon.” 

According to a Washington Post story published last month, the couple had been in touch with some prospective parents — but potential adoption scenarios initially fell through. The couple has been preparing for parenthood with “home studies and parenting workshops, writing up descriptions of their family values and ideal weekends.”

“It’s a really weird cycle of anger and frustration and hope,” Chasten said, according to the Washington Post. “You think it’s finally happening and you get so excited, and then it’s gone.”

Prior to serving as transportation secretary, Buttigieg rose to national fame during the 2020 Democratic primary race — when he and Bernie Sanders virtually tied to win the Iowa caucuses, though Buttigieg won the most delegates and officially became the first out LGBTQ person to win a state in a presidential primary race. After Buttigieg eventually dropped out, he backed Joe Biden’s candidacy for president, and in February, Buttigieg made history as the first openly gay cabinet member to be confirmed by the US Senate.

 

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The C.D.C. endorses Covid vaccinations during pregnancy

CDC Pregnancy

The C.D.C. endorses Covid vaccinations during pregnancy

Federal health officials on Wednesday bolstered their recommendation that pregnant people be vaccinated against Covid-19, pointing to new safety data that found no increased risk of miscarriage among those who were immunized during the first 20 weeks of gestation.C.D.C. Pregnancy

Earlier research found similarly reassuring data for those vaccinated later in pregnancy.

Until now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the vaccine could be offered during pregnancy; the recent update in guidance strengthens the official advice, urging pregnant people to be immunized.

The new guidance brings the C.D.C. in line with recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical specialty groups, which strongly recommend vaccination.

“At this time, the benefits of vaccination, and the known risks of Covid during pregnancy and the high rates of transmission right now, outweigh any theoretical risks of the vaccine,” Sascha R. Ellington, an epidemiologist who leads the emergency preparedness response team in the division of reproductive health at the C.D.C.

The risks of having Covid-19 during a pregnancy are well-established, she said, and include severe illness, admission to intensive care, needing mechanical ventilation, having a preterm birth and death.

So far, there is limited data on birth outcomes, she added, since the vaccine has only been available since December. But the small number of pregnancies followed to term have not identified any safety signals.

Pregnant women were not included in the clinical trials of the vaccines, and uptake of the shots has been low among pregnant women. The majority of pregnant women seem reluctant to be inoculated: Only 23 percent of pregnant women had received one or more doses of vaccine as of May, a recent study found.

New York Times, August 11, 2021 by Roni Caryn Rabin

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Biden Announces Two Lesbian Nominees to Federal Judiciary

Biden lesbian nominees

Judicial nominations announced Thursday by President Joe Biden include two lesbian nominees with long records of human rights work.

The first of the Biden lesbian nominees is Beth Robinson, the first out justice on the Vermont Supreme Court, is a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first out lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court. The second of the Biden lesbian nominees is Charlotte Sweeney, a Denver-based attorney specializing in employee rights, is a nominee for the U.S. District Court for Colorado. She would be the first out federal judge in the state and the first woman from the LGBTQ+ community to be a federal district court judge in any state west of the Mississippi.Biden lesbian nominees

Robinson, as an attorney, was co-counsel in Baker v. State, the case that resulted in the 1999 Vermont Supreme Court ruling that the state must grant same-sex couples the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex ones. Because of that ruling, Vermont became the first state to adopt a civil union law. Then in 2009, the state legalized same-sex marriage, making it the fourth state with marriage equality and the first to enact it by legislation rather than a court ruling. Robinson advocated for that law as head of Vermont Freedom to Marry.

She was appointed to Vermont’s high court by Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2011. Before that, she spent a year as counsel to the governor, following 18 years as an attorney with Langrock Sperry & Wool. Previously, she was an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, D.C., and a law clerk for Judge David B. Sentelle on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Law School.

Sweeney is currently a partner at Sweeney & Bechtold, where she has practiced since 2008. Her law practice is devoted to representing individuals in employment law cases, dealing with discrimination, wrongful termination, and other issues. She was a partner with LaFond & Sweeney from 1999 to 2008 and LaFond & Bove from 1997 from 1999. She began her career as an associate with LaFond & Clausen in 1995 and was named a partner at the firm in 1998.

She is a graduate of California Lutheran University and University of Denver College of Law. She is a member of the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s board of directors.

Biden also announced the nominations of two other judges: Mary Katherine Dimke for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington and John P. Howard III for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

All the nominees are “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution,” says a White House press release. “These choices also continue to fulfill the President’s promise to ensure that the nation’s courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country — both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds.”

Advocete.com by Trudy Ring, August 5, 2021

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Where do Babies Come From – A Little More Complicated for LGBTQ Parents

where do babies come from LGBTQ

Where do babies come from LGBTQ – From Family Equality Counsel – It’s a story every parent has to tell, but for LGBTQ parents, it’s a bit more complicated. The LGBTQ+ community faces legalized discrimination, immense bias, and disproportionate financial outlays on their journey to parenthood. Our mission to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families has never been more important. 

 

 

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Israel’s high court opens the way for same-sex couples to have children via surrogacy

Israel's high court

A decision by Israel’s high court Sunday paved the way for same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy, capping a decade-old legal battle in what activist groups hailed as a major advance for LGBTQ rights in Israel.

Restrictions on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single fathers in Israel must be lifted within six months, Israel’s high court ruled, giving authorities time to prepare for the change while making clear that it is a definitive one.Israel's high court

“We won! And now it’s final,” the petitioners said in a statement, the Times of Israel reported. “This is a big step toward equality, not only for LGBT in Israel, but for everyone in Israel.”

Surrogacy was already permitted for heterosexual couples and single women. The law excluded same-sex couples, however, and some who couldn’t have kids with surrogate mothers in Israel turned to surrogates overseas.

The legal fight to widen access to surrogacy in Israel has stretched on since 2010, when a male same-sex couple first appealed to the court to overturn restrictions. Their first petition was unsuccessful, but they followed it with a new one in 2015 along with LGBTQ rights groups. A law passed in 2018 extended eligibility for surrogacy to single women, but it sparked protests because LGBTQ people were left out.

Israel’s high court ruled in February 2020 that the restrictions against gay couples “disproportionately harmed the right to equality and the right to parenthood of these groups and are illegal.” But it left them intact for up to a year, setting a March 2021 deadline for Israel’s parliament to change the law.

The deadline was later extended to September, but the government last week asked the court to decide on the issue because amending the law would be “unfeasible” in the current political situation, according to the Times of Israel.

In the year since the supreme court ruling, ultra-Orthodox lawmakers blocked a proposal to expand surrogacy access, according to Agence France-Presse. And Israel’s new governing coalition, which took power last month and holds only a slim majority, consists of an eclectic mix of parties that span the political spectrum — and diverge on LGBTQ issues. The Islamist Ra’am party opposes gay rights, while Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz — a member of a leftist party in the coalition — is openly gay.

Horowitz hailed the ruling on Twitter, writing that “discrimination against same-sex couples and single fathers has come to an end.” He said his ministry is preparing to uphold the ruling.

WashongtonPost.com, July 11, 2021, by Claire Parker

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MHB – Gay Dads Talk About Parenthood – Pride 2021

Gay Dads Talk About Parenthood

Gay Dads Talk About Parenthood – Hear from gay fathers across the world how they celebrate Pride with their kids, and what Pride means to children born into gay-headed families. Do kids of gay dads identify as being part of the community even if they don’t self-identify as LGBTQ+? How did the perspectives of the dads and the children change as they hit different milestones? Is it mostly a cultural event, or are there conversations about civil rights, social justice, etc.?

It is so nice to be a part of this community!

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Parentage Orders New York

Parentage Orders New York

Parentage Orders in New York have just become an easier option for lesbian families.

Parentage orders in New York are a reality after the passage of the Child Parent Security Act, a long-awaited statute that acknowledges how gay and lesbian couples and individuals have families and offers a direct course to legal parentage.  As of February 15, 2021, New York has joined the legion of states that not only legalize gestational surrogacy, but also recognize how gay and lesbian couples and individuals have families and assist them in protecting those families with a direct pathway to parenthood.parentage orders New York

Parentage Orders in New York are now a reality.  Before February 15, 2021, the only clear way of establishing parentage in New York was through second or step-parent adoption.  Many couples still choose to establish parentage through the adoption process because it is the gold standard of parentage.  There is Supreme Court precedent for the recognition of adoption orders when the court refused to hear a case challenging the validity of an adoption order for a gay couple.  There are still specific indications when adoption is preferred over a parentage order, however, if you are not a couple that travels Internationally or if you have no plans to move to a gay-unfriendly state, the New York statute will provide the protection your family deserves.

The process for a parentage order differs slightly between Counties, but there is some regularity that you can count on.  First, the question of jurisdiction remains one that hinges on the cost of the process.  If you choose to file in Supreme Court, you will receive an Order from that court that will most likely result without a court appearance.  There are some costs associated with this method.  When you file in Supreme Court, one of the procedural elements is the filing of a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI), which comes with the cost of a $350.00 filing fee.  When you file in Family Court, the case is heard by a Support Magistrate.  There is no filing fee, however, there may be an appearance required. 

parentage orders new yorkIf COVID-19 restrictions apply, appearances are virtual.  This means that you will not have to go to court but log in to a virtual hearing online.  COVID-19 will at some point in the future be an issue of the past.   Families will have to weigh the costs of filing and the costs of appearing in court. 

The specifics of filing will include a Petition, which collects the necessary information the court needs to process the request.  The court also wants to hear from either the clinic that facilitated the pregnancy, the anonymous provider of sperm or the petitioners if they used home insemination to get pregnant.  The Court wants to make sure that all Parties who should be notified of the proceeding are accounted for.   The Petition verifies that the petitioning couple has lived in the State of New York for the last six months, that they consented to the Assisted Reproduction, the proposed name of the child and when the child is due to be born, or when they were born. 

For couples who have their families with the assistance of an anonymous sperm donor, the court will require a letter from the sperm provider to affirm that the donor was indeed anonymous and has no legal parentage rights to the child.  For couples who work with a known, or directed, donor, the court will view a Known Donor Agreement as proof that the donor does not intend to be a parent.  If there is no Agreement in place, your Attorney will have to draft an Affidavit that the Donor would sign to affirm their intentions to the court.  The Support Magistrate hearing the case may also request that your donor appear at your hearing.

Parentage Orders New York

The fact that we now have Parentage Orders in New York is a huge step forward for LGBTQ families.  While some couples will still choose to create legal parentage through second or stepparent adoption, we have another, lower cost option.  Parentage Orders in New York are a simple, straightforward way to affirm a family’s legal status and are available in many States across the Country.  Thanks to The Child Parent Security Act, our families are more secure and the Courts are learning more about how we have our families and protect them from challenge.

 

By Anthony M. Brown, June 1, 2021. www.TimeForFamilies.com

 

 

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Tennessee governor approves transgender youth treatment ban

Tennessee Transgender

After signing two bills into law targeting transgender people over the past week, Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee has approved legislation that bans gender-confirming treatment for young minors despite objections that the series of bills unfairly discriminate against an already vulnerable population.

The move makes Tennessee just the second state in the United States to enact such a transgender ban after Arkansas approved a similar version earlier this year over a veto from Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.Tennessee Transgender

Tennessee’s version, which goes into effect immediately, is slightly different. Under the new law, doctors would be banned from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment to prepubescent minors. Arkansas’ ban applies to anyone under the age of 18 and also specifically bans doctors from providing gender-confirming surgery.

It’s unclear how many will be affected by the new law. Advocates argue that no doctor in Tennessee is currently providing hormone therapy to youths before they enter puberty. Meanwhile, the Endocrine Society also does not recommend offering puberty blockers or hormone treatments until children reach puberty.

However, with Lee signing off on the legislation, Tennessee continued its streak of being on the front lines of Republican statehouses across the country targeting the LGBTQ community through legislation. Only Texas has filed more anti-LGBTQ proposals this year than Tennessee.

PBS.org, May 19, 2021 from NATION

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The State Department reverses a policy that denied citizenship to some babies born abroad to same-sex parents.

citizenship babies

In a victory for same-sex couples, the State Department on Tuesday said it would grant U.S. citizenship to babies born abroad to married couples with at least one American parent — no matter which parent had biological connection to the child.

The new policy effectively guarantees that American and binational couples who use assisted reproductive technology to give birth overseas — such as surrogates or sperm donations — can pass along citizenship to their children.citizenship babies

Earlier rules had left couples like Allison Blixt and Stefania Zaccari in a precarious — and often unexpected — legal situation.

Ms. Blixt, who is American, and Ms. Zaccari, who is Italian, sued the State Department after their older son, Lucas, was denied citizenship. Lucas was conceived and carried to birth by Ms. Zaccari, while his younger brother, who was conceived and carried by his American mother, was given U.S. citizenship when he was born.

“We are relieved and thankful that our fight for our family to be recognized by the government has finally ended,” Ms. Blixt said on Tuesday in a statement released by Immigration Equality, which was advocating on behalf of same-sex families. “Lucas, who made me a mother, will finally be treated as my son and recognized as American, as his brother always has been.”

The State Department said in a statement that it could not estimate how many couples the new guidance would affect. Lawsuits filed against the State Department during the Trump administration are pending, one official said, but the guidance issued on Tuesday may soon render the litigation moot.

Previously, the State Department, based on an interpretation of 1950s immigration law, required a child born abroad to have a biological connection to an American parent in order to receive citizenship at birth.

The emphasis on biology drew scrutiny in particular for its impact on same-sex couples, who are more likely to use artificial reproductive technology.

In several cases, same-sex couples sued the State Department after their child was not recognized as a U.S. citizen.

In one stark example, the daughter of a married gay couple was denied citizenship, even though both of her fathers are American citizens. In that case, one of the fathers is an American citizen by birth, born and raised in the United States. His husband was born in Britain to an American mother. Their daughter, who was born abroad to a surrogate using a donor egg and sperm from her British-born father, did not qualify for citizenship at birth.

NYTimes.com, May 18, 2021 by Lara Jakes and Sarah Mervosh

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U.S. Lutheran Church Elects Its First Openly Transgender Bishop

first openly Transgender bishop

The Rev. Megan Rohrer, the first openly transgender Bishop, was elected to lead a synod that includes about 200 Lutheran congregations in Northern and Central California.

A pastor in California became the first openly transgender person to be elevated to the role of bishop in a major American Christian denomination when they were elected on Saturday to lead a synod in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

first openly Transgender bishop

Photo Courtesy New York times

The Rev. Megan Rohrer was elected to a six-year term as bishop of the Sierra Pacific synod, an assembly based in Sacramento that includes about 200 congregations across Northern and Central California and northern Nevada.

“I am so proud to be a Lutheran,” Pastor Rohrer, 41, who will be installed as bishop on July 1, said in an email on Monday. “I pray that my election by the faithful people of the Sierra Pacific Synod will become a constant reminder that God’s fabulous love is never limited by the opinions or legislation of others.”

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said in a statement on Monday that the Sierra Pacific Synod recognized Pastor Rohrer’s gifts as a leader.

“When we say all are welcome, we mean all are welcome,” Bishop Eaton said. “We believe that the Spirit has given each of us gifts in order to build up the body of Christ.”

Pastor Rohrer, who uses the pronouns “they” and “them,” currently serves as the pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in San Francisco. They earned a Master of Divinity and completed postgraduate course work in Christian education at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., according to their profile on the church’s website.

“I want to be the kind of bishop that moves whatever stumbling blocks might have been placed before you, who roots for you, and worships with you,” Pastor Rohrer said before the vote on Saturday.

NYTimes.com, May 11.2021 by Jesus Jimenez

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