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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Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Among Pregnant Women With and Without COVID-19 Infection

COVID pregnant

The INTERCOVID Multinational Cohort Study

Key Points

Question  To what extent does COVID-19 in pregnancy alter the risks of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes compared with pregnant individuals without COVID-19?COVID pregnant

Findings  In this multinational cohort study of 2130 pregnant women in 18 countries, women with COVID-19 diagnosis were at increased risk of a composite maternal morbidity and mortality index. Newborns of women with COVID-19 diagnosis had significantly higher severe neonatal morbidity index and severe perinatal morbidity and mortality index compared with newborns of women without COVID-19 diagnosis.

Meaning  This study indicates a consistent association between pregnant individuals with COVID-19 diagnosis and higher rates of adverse outcomes, including maternal mortality, preeclampsia, and preterm birth compared with pregnant individuals without COVID-19 diagnosis.

Abstract

Importance  Detailed information about the association of COVID-19 with outcomes in pregnant individuals compared with not-infected pregnant individuals is much needed.

Objective  To evaluate the risks associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes compared with not-infected, concomitant pregnant individuals.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this cohort study that took place from March to October 2020, involving 43 institutions in 18 countries, 2 unmatched, consecutive, not-infected women were concomitantly enrolled immediately after each infected woman was identified, at any stage of pregnancy or delivery, and at the same level of care to minimize bias. Women and neonates were followed up until hospital discharge.

Exposures  COVID-19 in pregnancy determined by laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 and/or radiological pulmonary findings or 2 or more predefined COVID-19 symptoms.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome measures were indices of (maternal and severe neonatal/perinatal) morbidity and mortality; the individual components of these indices were secondary outcomes. Models for these outcomes were adjusted for country, month entering study, maternal age, and history of morbidity.

Results  A total of 706 pregnant women with COVID-19 diagnosis and 1424 pregnant women without COVID-19 diagnosis were enrolled, all with broadly similar demographic characteristics (mean [SD] age, 30.2 [6.1] years). Overweight early in pregnancy occurred in 323 women (48.6%) with COVID-19 diagnosis and 554 women (40.2%) without. Women with COVID-19 diagnosis were at higher risk for preeclampsia/eclampsia (relative risk [RR], 1.76; 95% CI, 1.27-2.43), severe infections (RR, 3.38; 95% CI, 1.63-7.01), intensive care unit admission (RR, 5.04; 95% CI, 3.13-8.10), maternal mortality (RR, 22.3; 95% CI, 2.88-172), preterm birth (RR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.30-1.94), medically indicated preterm birth (RR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.56-2.51), severe neonatal morbidity index (RR, 2.66; 95% CI, 1.69-4.18), and severe perinatal morbidity and mortality index (RR, 2.14; 95% CI, 1.66-2.75). Fever and shortness of breath for any duration was associated with increased risk of severe maternal complications (RR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.92-3.40) and neonatal complications (RR, 4.97; 95% CI, 2.11-11.69). Asymptomatic women with COVID-19 diagnosis remained at higher risk only for maternal morbidity (RR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.00-1.54) and preeclampsia (RR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.01-2.63). Among women who tested positive (98.1% by real-time polymerase chain reaction), 54 (13%) of their neonates tested positive. Cesarean delivery (RR, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.18-3.91) but not breastfeeding (RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.66-1.85) was associated with increased risk for neonatal test positivity.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this multinational cohort study, COVID-19 in pregnancy was associated with consistent and substantial increases in severe maternal morbidity and mortality and neonatal complications when pregnant women with and without COVID-19 diagnosis were compared. The findings should alert pregnant individuals and clinicians to implement strictly all the recommended COVID-19 preventive measures.

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We Expect 300,000 Fewer Births Than Usual This Year

fewer births

Signs are pointing to a sizable pandemic baby bust in the United States, with implications that will be with us for years to come.

Opinion – The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the country into an economic recession and an unprecedented restructuring of our work and social lives. Early on, some likened the public health crisis to a blizzard, imagining that people would stay home, cozy up with their romantic partners and make babies.fewer births

These playful visions have given way to a more sobering reality: The pandemic’s serious disruption of people’s lives is likely to cause “missing births” — potentially a lot of them. Add these missing births to the country’s decade-long downward trend in annual births and we can expect consequential changes to our economy and society in the years to come. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes.

Research we did last year showed that the Covid pandemic would lead to a decline in U.S. births of about 8 percent, as compared with the number of expected births without a pandemic, resulting in 300,000 fewer births this year than would otherwise be expected. This prediction was based largely on the fact that economic factors affect people’s decisions about whether and when to have a baby.

There is a well-documented cycle to the nation’s birthrate: When the labor market is weak, aggregate birthrates decline; when the labor market improves, birthrates improve. At the individual level, there is also a well-documented link between changes in income and births: When income increases, people often expand their families; when people experience job or income loss, they have fewer children.

This effect was evident after the Great Recession. States that experienced higher increases in unemployment experienced larger declines in birthrates; a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate was associated with a subsequent drop in births of 1 percent. Estimates suggest that U.S. unemployment will have risen by around 5.5 percentage points in the year following the start of the pandemic. From the unemployment effect alone, we might therefore expect a 5.5 percent reduction in births on account of the Covid pandemic.

NYTimes.com, March 7, 2021 by Melissa S. Kearney and 

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Major Evangelical Adoption Agency Will Now Serve Gay Parents Nationwide

adoption gay

The decision comes as more cities and states require organizations to accept adoption applications from L.G.B.T.Q., gay, couples or risk losing government contracts.

One of the country’s largest adoption and foster care agencies, Bethany Christian Services, announced on Monday that it would begin providing services to L.G.B.T.Q., gay,  parents nationwide effective immediately, a major inflection point in the fraught battle over many faith-based agencies’ longstanding opposition to working with same-sex couples.adoption gay

Bethany, a Michigan-based evangelical organization, announced the change in an email to about 1,500 staff members that was signed by Chris Palusky, the organization’s president and chief executive. “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today,” Mr. Palusky wrote. “We’re taking an all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

The announcement is a significant departure for the 77-year-old organization, which is the largest Protestant adoption and foster agency in the United States. Bethany facilitated 3,406 foster placements and 1,123 adoptions in 2019, and has offices in 32 states. (The organization also works in refugee placement, and offers other services related to child and family welfare.) Previously, openly gay prospective foster and adoptive parents in most states were referred to other agencies.

The decision comes amid a high-stakes cultural and legal battle that features questions about sexuality, religious freedom, parenthood, family structure and theology.

Adoption is a potent issue in both conservative Christian and gay communities. Faith-based agencies play a substantial role in placing children in new families. Meanwhile, more than 20 percent of same-sex couples with children have an adopted child, compared to 3 percent of straight couples, according to a 2016 report from the Williams Institute at U.C.L.A. School of Law. Gay couples are also significantly likelier to have a foster child.

NYTimes.com, March 1, 2021 by Ruth Graham

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More Adult Americans Are Identifying as L.G.B.T., Gallup Poll Finds

L.G.B.T. Overlooked

A survey found that 5.6 percent of adults described themselves as L.G.B.T. in 2020, up from 4.5 percent in 2017.

A Gallup survey released Wednesday has found that more adult Americans are identifying as L.G.B.T., a shift that pollsters see as driven, at least in part, by people in younger generations who are more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual.L.G.B.T. inclusive sex education

The poll found that 5.6 percent of adults identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, rising from 4.5 percent in 2017, the last time Gallup reported an annual update. The poll also found that more than half of L.G.B.T. adults identified as bisexual.

One in six adults in Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2002, identify as L.G.B.T., the poll found. The growth in Americans who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. is likely to continue to increase, Gallup’s senior editor, Jeffrey Jones, wrote in announcing the results. That is because those in younger generations are more likely than those in older generations to to consider themselves L.G.B.T., he said.

Americans have been more supportive of equal rights for L.G.B.T.Q. people, Mr. Jones said, prompting an increase in people who identify themselves as L.G.B.T.

“I think the findings prove that visibility and acceptance, when combined, will bust out closet doors,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of GLAAD, an L.G.B.T.Q. media organization and advocacy group.

The survey was based on more than 15,000 interviews conducted throughout 2020 with Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were 18 or older. Those surveyed were interviewed by both cellphone and landline. They were asked: “Which of the following do you consider yourself to be? You can select as many as apply: straight or heterosexual; lesbian; gay; bisexual; transgender.”

Gallup said the poll’s margin of error was plus or minus one percentage point for all adults, and plus or minus five percentage points for L.G.B.T. adults.

The identity question in the most recent poll was more detailed than in previous years, Mr. Jones said. Respondents answered their precise sexual orientation instead of answering “yes” or “no” to whether they identified as L.G.B.T.

The Supreme Court has made several landmark rulings in the past decade, adding to a more supportive climate for L.G.B.T.Q. people. In 2013, the court ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits. In 2015, the court ruled that same-sex marriage was a nationwide right. Most recently, it ruled in June that civil rights law protected gay and transgender workers.

NHYTimes.com, by Christina Morales, February 25, 2021

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Governor Cuomo Announces Gestational Surrogacy Now Legal in New York State

legal surrogacy in New York

2020 State of the State Proposal Signed into Law Last Year Takes Effect

Law Establishes Criteria for Gestational Surrogacy Agreements, Creates a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights, and Streamlines the “Second Parent Adoption” Process 

The Department of Health Has Posted Guidance for Gestational Surrogacy Here and Information on Regulations Herelegal surrogacy in New York

 

 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York’s Gestational Surrogacy Law is now in effect, delivering help to LGBTQ+ couples and couples struggling with fertility who are trying to start families of their own. Originally proposed as part of the Governor’s 2020 State of the State Agenda and signed into law as part of the State Budget, the law officially legalizes gestational surrogacy in New York State. Prior to the law’s enactment, the practice was illegal in New York State, and gestational surrogacy agreements were unenforceable and considered not legally binding.  

“For far too long, LGBTQ+ New Yorkers and New Yorkers struggling with fertility were denied the opportunity to start a family because of arbitrary and archaic laws and I couldn’t be prouder of the way New York came together to say we won’t stand for this any longer,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is a loving state and were proud to lead the charge for fairness and equality last year. With this law now in effect, no longer will anyone will be blocked from the joys of starting a family and raising children simply because of who they are.”

In addition to lifting the previous ban on gestational surrogacy, the law:

  • Establishes legal criteria for gestational surrogacy agreements that provide the strongest protections in the nation for parents and surrogates, ensuring all parties provide informed consent at every step of the process;
  • Creates a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights, to ensure the unfettered right of surrogates to make their own healthcare decisions, including whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy, and that surrogates have access to comprehensive health insurance and independent legal counsel of their choosing, all paid for by the intended parents; and
  • Creates a streamlined process for establishing parenthood when one of the individuals is a non-biological parent, a process known as “second parent adoption.”

Governor Cuomo has long championed the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and has sought to ensure that all New Yorkers have equal ability to start and raise families in this State. Gestational surrogacy provides same-sex couples and people struggling with fertility the ability to conceive a child with the help of medical advances in assisted reproduction. 

The legal process known as “Second Parent Adoption” previously presented many antiquated barriers to individuals, particularly LGBTQ+ couples, seeking to adopt their partner’s biological child. Governor Cuomo’s legislation simplified and streamlined this process by instead requiring a single visit to court to recognize legal parenthood while the child is in utero.

The Department of Health has posted guidance here with surrogates’ bill of rights, fact sheets, and a license portal. Information on regulations can be found here.  

Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, “From legalizing gay marriage to this surrogacy law taking effect today, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has done more than any other state to expand the rights of LGBTQ+ people. In the midst of a global pandemic that continues to claim lives throughout the country, it’s important to remember the truly important things in our lives, especially our families and children. I wish love and happiness to all the people who will take advantage of this law today and in coming years to create families of their own.”

Senator Brad Hoylman said, “My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy—but we had to travel 3,000 miles to do it because our home state had banned the practice. Thanks to the Child-Parent Security Act, gestational surrogacy is finally legal in New York State, giving LGBTQ couples and people experiencing infertility the opportunity to build a family through surrogacy here at home. This legislation sets a new gold standard for surrogacy, providing women acting as surrogates with the strongest legal and health protections in the nation while also protecting intended parents and egg donors. We were able to pass this bill because of the strong advocacy of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who have always prioritized the fight for LGBTQ equality, as well as the legislative leadership of my Democratic colleagues in the Senate and Assembly champion Amy Paulin.” 

Assembly Member Amy Paulin said, “Today, couples with infertility issues and same-sex couples will be able to start their families in New York without facing the logistical and legal obstacles that have impeded them. I had fertility issues when I attempted to get pregnant with my second child, so I am well aware of the pain and suffering that is attached to wanting a child. This law will allow families to avoid much of that pain by giving them the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents. Again, I thank the Governor and my Senate colleague Brad Hoylmanfor making this a reality.” 

Ali Forney Center CEO Alexander Roque said, “Governor Cuomo’s tireless care for, commitment to and centering of LGBTQIA rights is among the most noble commitments to justice and equality for all. Moreover, in doing so, Governor Cuomo is setting a standard for other leaders to follow in protecting and really thinking about and responding to the needs of our movement. As a gay parent who had no coverage or benefits in supporting my family journey, I know firsthand the impact this legislation will have on our families. Governor Cuomo’s fight for our rights will benefit our communities for generations to come.”

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association Board Member Risa A. Levine said, “I am so thrilled that after decades of having to travel outside of New York to build their families, people suffering from infertility who need the help of a surrogate, can now do so close to home.  I am proud that Governor Cuomo enabled New York State to have the most progressive set of protections for all parties to a surrogacy arrangement in the country.”

Equality New York Board Member Brian Esser said, “Now that the Child-Parent Security Act is in effect, New York has one of the most favorable sets of laws in the country with respect to LGBTQI family formation, making it easier for parents to protect their legal rights regardless of how they build their families.”  

Men Having Babies Executive Director Ron Poole-Dayan said, “Today we believe that New York leapfrogged to have the most comprehensive and ethical surrogacy laws ever drafted, with extensive protections to all involved, legal clarity and a streamlined process for parentage rights, and attention to long term physical and mental health outcomes. We thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and look forward to working with him on building upon this historic achievement for LGBTQ families.”  

2.16.2021 – From Governor Cuomo’s Office

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Meet the Women Who Become Surrogates

adoption and surrogacy lgbt family planning

New York State will now allow gestational surrogates to carry babies for other parents. Here’s why they do it.

In 1995, Lisa Wippler, having recently retired from the Marines, moved with her husband and two young sons to Oceanside, Calif., and was contemplating her next chapter in life. The answer came while lying in bed one night, reading an article about infertility.new york surrogacy

“I had no idea how many couples out there needed help,” she said. Inspired, she sought out a local support group for women who had served as surrogates to help those who can’t have children on their own start families. “It was this amazing circle of women,” said Ms. Wippler, who is now 49. “All talking about their journeys and their stories.”

Last year, Ms. Wippler — by this point a three-time surrogate herself — was part of a delegation of surrogacy advocates who traveled to Albany, where she had the opportunity to share her story with lawmakers considering whether to legalize the practice in New York State. She was joined by the first woman she carried a child for, in 1996, who spoke with state legislators as well.

“I had never heard her talk so openly about her struggles and the impact this all had on her,” Ms. Wippler said. “I was so proud — it really had an impact on me.”

In her advocacy work, Ms. Wippler said, she has been befuddled to hear the arguments put forward by opponents — some of whom contend the surrogacy industry preys on poor and vulnerable women.

“I’m a retired Marine,” she said. “I can guarantee you no one coerced me.”

Starting Monday, after a protracted battle in the state that garnered star power and attention on both sides, New York joins most other states in the nation in permitting some form of compensated gestational surrogacy — when a woman carries a child, to whom she is not biologically related, for an individual or couple in exchange for a fee. (Only Michigan and Louisiana will continue to criminalize gestational surrogacy, as New York did, but other states still limit surrogacy contracts in some form.)

While the United States remains one of the few countries where gestational surrogacy is legal, and widely practiced, it continues to be a source of heated debate. Often missing from the conversation, however, are perspectives of women like Ms. Wippler — and the varied, sometimes deeply personal, reasons that compel them to become surrogates.

NYTimes.com by david Dodge, February 15, 2021

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The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand

anonymous sperm donors

The sperm kings of America are exhausted.  Many people want a pandemic baby, but some sperm banks are running low. So women are joining unregulated Facebook groups to find willing donors, no middleman required.

The sperm kings of America are exhausted.artificial insemination

These men are flying all over the place. They are shipping their sperm with new vial systems and taking the latest DNA tests because that is what women want now. Sure, they can talk on the phone, but they say it has to be quick because they are driving to Dallas or Kansas City or Portland, Maine, in time for an ovulation window. They would like to remind me they have day jobs.

“People are fed up with sperm banks,” said Kyle Gordy, 29, who lives in Malibu, Calif. He invests in real estate but spends most of his time donating his sperm, free (except for the cost of travel), to women. He also runs a nearly 11,000-member private Facebook group, Sperm Donation USA, which helps women connect with a roster of hundreds of approved donors. His donor sperm has sired 35 children, with five more on the way, he said.

“They realize this isn’t some taboo anymore,” Mr. Gordy said.

If you are one of the roughly 141 million Americans whose body produces sperm, the substance likely seems abundant and cheap. For the rest of us, it is very much neither.

That has always been true, especially if one is discerning. But now, the coronavirus pandemic is creating a shortage, sperm banks and fertility clinics said. Men have stopped going in as much to donate, even as demand has stayed steady at some banks and increased rapidly at others.

“We’ve been breaking records for sales since June worldwide not just in the U.S. — we’ve broken our records for England, Australia and Canada,” said Angelo Allard, the compliance supervisor of Seattle Sperm Bank, one of the country’s biggest sperm banks. He said his company was selling 20 percent more sperm now than a year earlier, even as supplies dwindled.

“Between our three locations, I’ll usually have 180 unique donors donating,” Mr. Allard said. “I’m down to 117. The other month it was 80. I don’t have any indication it’s going to be a positive trend.”

Michelle Ottey, director of operations at Fairfax Cryobank, another large sperm bank, said demand was up for access to its catalog for online sperm shopping because “people are seeing that there is the possibility of more flexibility in their lives and work.”

“I also think part of it is people are trying to find some hope right now,” she added.

The scarcity has people on edge. Many are annoyed.

“Will there by any new donors soon?” someone with the handle BabyV2021 recently wrote on the online forum for California Cryobank, one of the world’s biggest sperm banks. “It seems like the donor supply has been dwindling,” wrote another, who had the handle sc_cal.

And so in the capitalist crunch, Sperm World — the world of people buying and selling sperm — has gotten wild. Donors are going direct to customers. They meet with prospective mothers-to-be in Airbnbs for an afternoon handoff; Facebook groups with tens of thousands of members have sprung up.

The reason I know this at all is simple enough: I am 32 years old, partnered to a woman, stuck at home and in the market for the finest sperm I can get.

By Nellie Bowles, NYTimes.com, January 7, 2021

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What’s at Stake For LGBTQ Families This Election – The Most Powerful Man in the World Thinks My Family Is ‘Less Than’

LGBTQ families election

What’s at Stake For LGBTQ Families This Election.  The fight for equality isn’t over, and can most definitely still be lost.

What’s at Stake For LGBTQ Families This Election?  It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times. I’m an optimist at heart, but there were days this year when looking on the bright side seemed like the act of a lunatic. Every day I felt the heaviness in my heart.LGBTQ families election

Then, one morning in August, I walked down our dirt road with the dog. Mist was rising off Long Pond. When we got home, I found a small stone among the snapdragons and joe-pye weed in our garden. Someone had painted it with a rainbow. On one side were the words “You matter.”

This turned out to be one of a series of painted rocks that an anonymous person, or persons, have been leaving around my neighborhood. Some of the messages on them are generic, like “Maine: The way life should be.” But others seemed specific to their recipients. In front of the house of a neighbor with lots of children was a red rock inscribed with “Kids are great.” In the garden of a new arrival to our tiny Maine neighborhood: “Welcome to the lake.” By the house of a couple with a goofy black Lab: “Your dog is cute.”

It seemed as if a guardian angel had appeared among us, charged with the task of giving us hope at a time when many of us have never felt so lousy.

For me, a reminder that my big gay family matters right now was more than a pleasantry. It was like a message from heaven. For the last four years the message from Donald Trump has been the opposite: To him, we don’t matter at all. In so many ways, he’s made it clear he feels we’d be better off erased.

The messaging began the first week of his administration, when mention of L.G.B.T.Q. rights disappeared from the White House website.

This was just for starters. Later, he rejected plans to add questions about gender identity and sexual orientation to the 2020 census. He banned trans people from the military. On the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, he announced that his administration would roll back Obama-era health care protections for trans people. He prohibited embassies from flying the rainbow flag on flagpoles. For three out of four Junes he has failed to mention Pride Month — although one time he did take time out of his busy schedule to talk up National Homeownership Month.

LGBTQ families electionHis Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court endorsing the idea that employers had the right to fire L.G.B.T.Q. people just for being themselves. In the end, even the conservative-majority Supreme Court ruled against him. But the idea that the president of the United States went out of his way to put me, and people like me, at risk, is harrowing.

This August, at its convention, the Trump Republican Party re-endorsed its 2016 platform. You know, the one that sanctifies “traditional marriage” and condemns the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. The one that describes the ruling defending a marriage like mine as “full of ‘silly extravagances.’”

Last week the administration filed a brief with the Indiana Supreme Court making the case that a Catholic school can fire a gay teacher who marries. It’s a First Amendment case, the administration says. Because persecuting L.G.B.T.Q. people is a form of free expression, I guess. Like cake frosting.

Also in the last week, the president released a shortlist of potential Supreme Court nominees for his second term, a list rife with anti-L.G.B.T.Q. and anti-civil rights individuals. The legal director of Lambda Legal, an organization that fights for the legal rights of L.G.B.T.Q. people, described the nominees as “terrifying.” One of them, Allison Jones Rushing, has ties to a group called the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has espoused the idea that homosexuality should be criminalized. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hate group.

NYTimes.com, September 16, 2020 by Jennifer Finney Boylan 

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The Poly-Parent Households Are Coming

Poly-Parent Households

The Poly-Parent Households Are Coming

The Poly-Parent Households Are Coming.  Consider the following scenario: Anna and Nicole, 36 and 39 years old, have been close friends since college. They each dated various men throughout their twenties and thirties, and had a smattering of romantic relationships that didn’t quite work out. But now, as they approach midlife, both women have grown weary of the merry-go-round of online dating and of searching for men who might — or might not — make appropriate fathers for the babies they don’t yet have. Both Anna and Nicole want children. They want to raise those children in a stable, nurturing environment, and to continue the legacy of their own parents and grandparents. And so they decide to have a baby — a baby that is genetically their own — together.Poly-Parent Households

Such an idea may sound fantastical. But technologies that could enable two women (or two men, or four unrelated people of any sex) to conceive a child together are already under development. If these technologies move eventually from the laboratory into clinical use, and the history of assisted fertility suggests they can and they will, then couples — or rather, co-parents — like Anna and Nicole are likely to reshape some of our most fundamental ideas about what it takes to make a baby, and a family.

To date, most major advances in assisted reproduction have been tweaks on the basic process of sexual reproduction. Artificial insemination brought sperm toward egg through a different, nonsexual channel. I.V.F. mixed them together outside the woman’s body. Little things, really, in the broader sweep of life.

And yet even these have had profound consequences. Humans are reproducing in ways that would have been truly unimaginable just several decades ago: Two men and a surrogate. Two women and a sperm donor. An older woman using genetic material from a much younger egg.

Each turn of the technological screw has been generated by the same profound impulse — to allow people to conceive babies they desperately want, and to build families with those they love. Each development has, in many ways, been deeply conservative, intended to extend or re-create life’s most basic process of production. But as these technologies have expanded and evolved, their impact has become far more revolutionary; they’ve forced us to reconceptualize just what a family means, and what it can be.

For most of human history, after all, families across the Western world were defined in largely biblical terms: one man, one woman, with children conceived through sex and sanctified by marriage. Everyone else was just a bastard.

NYTimes.com, August 12, 2020 by Debra L. Spar

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Source: Time for Families