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Even After SCOTUS Gay Couples Having To Fight To Be Legally Recognized As Parents Of Their Children

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Even though the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality last month, some state officials are choosing to claim the court ruling does not apply to state adoption laws.

The Supreme Court of the United States legalized marriage for same-sex couples last month nationwide, but some are still facing challenges of being legally recognized as the parents to their own children. When states refuse to allow same-sex couples the ability to list both of their names on their child’s birth certificate, it creates a long list of problems that can jeopardize the child’s safety. For example, it can create a barrier when the couple tries to add their child to the health insurance plan of the parent not listed on the birth certificate. Also, the parent not listed on the birth certificate could be denied the ability to make medical decisions for their own child. And if one parent dies, that child can be legally considered an orphan, unless the parents endure a lengthy and expensive step-parent or second-parent adoption process.

Couples across the country have stepped up to fight for legal recognition as parents to their own children. Below is a summary of some of the struggles currently taking place.

 

ARKANSAS

Three female same-sex couples that conceived through anonymous sperm donors are suing the Arkansas Department of Health for refusing to allow both spouses to be named on their children’s birth certificates. The lawsuit says that by refusing to add the names of both parents on the birth certificates, the state is jeopardizing a number of benefits, including insurance and inheritance, for the children.

The couples are asking for state laws regarding rights of parents in relation to their children to be updated so that the laws are gender-neutral. They are also asking the Pulaski County Circuit Court to prevent the state from denying two people of the same gender to be listed as parents on birth certificates.

ARIZONA

After the 9th Circuit ruling legalized marriage equality in Arizona, Lenora and Leticia Reyes-Petroff (who were married in California in 2013) tried to take advantage of a program that offered free legal services for adoptions, but were denied service because the program did not apply to same-sex couples. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery refused to help with non-contested adoptions because he claimed court rulings making same-sex marriage legal didn’t apply to state adoption laws.

Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sent a letter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office threatening to sue if the county did not drop their policy of denying legal assistance to same-sex couples seeking to adopt. Last week, in a pass the buck workaround, Montgomery has decided to farm out the services to private lawyers.

FLORIDA

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill last month that repealed Florida’s gay adoption ban. The new law went into effect on July 1.

Even though Scott signed the bill, he made a statement that he wanted the Florida Legislature to pass a bill allowing taxpayer funded adoption agencies to refuse qualified prospective parents based on sexual orientation if the agencies cited a sincerely held religious belief.

“To be clear, some of our faith-based child placement agencies do not place children in homes with same sex parents, and this is a matter of their sincerely held religious beliefs, consistent with religious freedom rights granted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in Article I of the Florida Constitution,” Scott said in a memo attached to his signature. “It is my hope and expectation that the Legislature will take future action to make clear that we will support private, faith-based operations in the child welfare system and ensure that their religious convictions continue to be protected.”

UTAH

Angie and Kami Roe were married in Utah on December 20, 2013, the first day it became legal for same-sex couples to marry in the state. The couple decided to have a child together, and through intrauterine insemination, Kami gave birth to a baby in February 2015. They sued the state of Utah because the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics refuses to recognize Angie as a parent on their daughter’s birth certificate. Under Utah’s assisted reproduction statute, the husband of a woman who conceives with donated sperm is automatically recognized as the child’s parent, but state attorneys are arguing that the automatic parentage does not extend to same-sex unions.

The Adoption/Court Order Specialist told the Roes that Angie would need to adopt her own child through a step-parent adoption, an adoption process that costs hundreds of dollars and would require Angie to submit to a thorough background check by the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services. On top of that, Angie and Kami would have to wait until a judge schedules a hearing on their adoption petition to get approval for Angie to be recognized as a parent to her own child. This would leave their baby in a vulnerable situation if something were to happen to Kami and Angie was not legally allowed to care for their child. 

Late yesterday a federal court judge ruled that the State of Utah must treat same-sex parents just as they would treat different-sex parents.

The court documents are posted on ACLU’s website if you’d like to learn more about the case. 

 

Have you faced challenges as an LGBT parent? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section below.

Image by Alisdare Hickson via Flickr and a CC license 

 

NCRM writer Eric Rosswood is the author of the upcoming book, The Journey to Parenthood, which helps same-sex couples understand the differences between the various parenting options including adoption, surrogacy, fostering, assisted reproduction, and co-parenting. The book includes firsthand stories from same-sex couples, legal advice, and checklists to help people decide which path is best for them. For more information on his book, visit www.ericrosswood.com.

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WAR CRIMES

‘One Minute to Live, Sir’: Trump Shared Details of Soleimani Assassination With Top Dollar Donors at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser

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President Donald Trump shared moment-by-moment details of his assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with top high-dollar donors at  Friday night’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. The Commander-in-Chief also revealed he authorized the killing, not because of any supposed “imminent threat,” as he has previously asserted, but because intelligence reports, he said, found Solemiani was “talking about bad stuff.”

Killing Solemani as an act of retribution instead of as a preventative measure against imminent attack could be a war crime, legal experts have said.

The Washington Post reports Trump “spoke broadly about Soleimani as ‘the father of the road side bomb’ responsible for ‘every young, beautiful man or woman who see walking around with no legs, no arms.'”

Soleimani “was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said, to applause.

The president also gave a blow-by-blow account of Soleimani’s killing.

“‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ Then all of a sudden, boom,” Trump told the group of donors, according to audio recordings the Post received.

The Post also revealed that at Friday’s fundraiser, “Trump is heard boasting about increasing the defense budget by $2.5 trillion. To those who criticized his spending and the growing national debt, Trump said, ‘Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.'”

 

 

 

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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GOP DISINFORMATION MACHINE

Rod Rosenstein Admits He Authorized Release of Strzok-Page Texts That Spawned Preposterous GOP Conspiracy Theories

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In a court filing released on Friday, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted that he authorized the release of the text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Strzok and Page, who were involved in the Russia investigation prior to dismissal by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and whose extramarital affair inflamed Fox News’ outrage for months, revealed a dislike of President Donald Trump in their text messages, which formed the basis of GOP conspiracy theories that the FBI had been secretly working to bring down the president with the Russia investigation.

Subsequent investigations have failed to find any evidence that Strzok, Page, or any other FBI officials tried to politically target Trump with the power of the agency. However, a recent inspector general report suggests some of their surveillance practices may have been improper and require reform.

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