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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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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

John Eastman Will Face Charges if Continues ‘Frivolous Argument’ Against Capitol Riot Probe: Adam Schiff

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John Eastman, the far-right lawyer who authored Trump’s “coup memo,” announced on Friday that he would be defying a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee.

Appearing on CNN later in the day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made clear that Eastman is free to plead the Fifth if he has a good-faith reason to fear he could incriminate himself — but that doesn’t entitle him to a free pass to ignore investigators.

“Eastman says the partisan makeup of the committee, he says makes it invalid and doesn’t need to cooperate,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “What do you say to that?”

“Well, that was a frivolous argument,” said Schiff. “If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, he will be in contempt of the committee, simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege or to stall and delay for the former president, and will make the judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear the testimony.”

READ MORE: Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark postpones Capitol riot testimony due to ‘medical condition’

This comes after former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted on contempt charges for ignoring the committee, and as former DOJ lawyer Jeffrey Clark faces an upcoming contempt vote by Congress.

Watch below:

 

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COMMENTARY

Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries She’s the ‘Most Attacked’ – Less Than 24 Hours After Labeling All Democrats ‘Communists’

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If it seems like it was just yesterday that U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled the President of the United States and in fact every Democrat in the country “communists,” it was, which is why it might seem strangely hypocritical that the Republican from Georgia minutes ago was labeling herself the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history.

“Joe Biden is a communist,” Greene declared strongly Thursday evening. “And that’s who the Democrats are – they’re communists.”

“You know, a lot of people are swallowing down the word ‘socialist,’ but that’s not a good enough word for Democrats – they are communists,” Greene told her supporters, clearly ignorant of the words’ meanings.

“That’s the word we need to keep using with them,” she continued. “Because they’re using these unprecedented, authoritarian, tyrannical controls on the American people to force people to comply.”

But Greene was singing a very different tune Friday afternoon.

“I have been the most attacked freshman Member of Congress probably in United States history,” Greene cried in a video she posted to social media. “The media has defamed me. They have completely smeared my character. Called me names and labeled me horrible things, none of which I am. None of the things they have said are true about me.”

What has been said about Congresswoman Greene in the legitimate media? Unlike her videos, there’s a high degree of likelihood it’s mostly true.

Here’s a portion of what The New York Times wrote in January:

Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime.

“That’s another one of those Clinton murders,” Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat.

Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018.

Ms. Greene suggested in a 2018 Facebook post, unearthed this week by Media Matters, that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Ms. Greene has repeatedly claimed in multiple videos and social media posts that several school shooting massacres were “false flag” events perpetrated by government officials in an attempt to drum up support for gun control laws. In an October 2020 video surfaced on Friday by Mother Jones, she said that the “only way you get your freedoms back is it’s earned with the price of blood.”

Ms. Greene is perhaps best known for having endorsed QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy movement that claims that Mr. Trump was facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

That was almost an entire year ago. You’re probably more familiar with all the baseless and unfounded attacks she has made since.

Greene has made lying about and attacking Democrats part of her weekly, if not daily routine. Sometimes those attacks have been very personal – and very close. Like when she followed Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist David Hogg around the streets of D.C. He said he felt she was threatening him. Or more recently, when she verbally assaulted U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Congress. That was one of her countless attacks against the New York Democrat who Greene seems disturbingly obsessed with.

But if indeed Greene is the “most attacked” freshman member of Congress in all of U.S. history, she has only herself to blame.

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BREAKING NEWS

On the Lam?: FBI Now Searching for Parents of Michigan Accused High School Shooter – Sheriff Says They’re ‘Missing’

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James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of accused high school mass shooter Ethan Crumbley, appear to be “missing,” according to Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Sheriff Bouchard says his office is now searching for the Crumbleys, but they cannot be found and are not returning calls from their attorney.

MSNBC reports the FBI and U.S. Marshals are currently searching for them.

The Crumbleys will face four counts of homicide involuntary manslaughter. Their son, Ethan, is facing murder and terrorism charges, in addition to other charges.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald Friday afternoon detailed the alarming note and drawings that led to school administrators summoning the Crumbleys to the school. Among the words on the note, “the thoughts won’t stop help me,” “blood everywhere,” and “The world is dead.”

Watch:

EARLIER:

‘Blood Everywhere’ and ‘The World Is Dead’: Prosecutor Details Accused School Mass Shooter’s Alarming Note

Prosecutor Reveals Disturbing Texts, Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against Parents of Michigan High School Accused Shooter

Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Mom Thanked Trump for Right to Bear Arms in Vulgar 2016 Open Letter

 

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