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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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OPINION

‘By Design’: Johnson Falsely Claims Democrats Are Trying to Turn ‘Illegals’ Into Voters

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Embattled Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson traveled nearly 1000 miles on Friday afternoon to appear with Donald Trump in a live joint press conference at Mar-a-Lago to promote legislation banning non-U.S. citizens from voting, which has been a federal law, and a felony, since 1997.

But Johnson used the event to attack Democrats, falsely accusing them of a conspiracy to increase the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. for the direct and distinct purpose of pushing them to vote illegally in U.S. elections.

The Speaker offered no proof of the existence of this conspiracy.

“We only want U.S. citizens to vote in U.S. elections,” Johnson said, standing next to Trump (video below), “but there are some Democrats who don’t want to do that. We believe that one of their designs, one of the reasons for this open border, which everybody asked all around the country, why would they do this? Why would they allow all this chaos? Why the violence? Because they want to turn these people into voters.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

Non-citizens voting in a U.S. election is punishable by deportation, massive fines, and/or numerous years in prison.

“Right now the administration is encouraging illegals to go to their local welfare office to sign up for benefits,” Johnson, one of the top election deniers in the country, claimed as he explained his conspiracy theory. He did not state how the Biden Administration is communicating with undocumented immigrants, nor did he offer proof of these communications.

He also did not state that the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any government welfare program.

“Well, guess what? When you go to a welfare office, they also ask you if you would like to register to vote, and so many people, we think are going to do that.”

Again, Johnson offered no proof of undocumented immigrants doing that, and in fact, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported just this week, that is not happening.

“States have multiple systems in place to deter noncitizen voting. Those who violate the law face prison time and deportation,” the Brennan Center reported.

If you were undocumented, the Brennan Center asked, “Would you risk everything — your freedom, your life in the United States, your ability to be near your family — just to cast a single ballot?”

Johnson went on to state, “there’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes in the election. That could turn an election.”

It could, but it isn’t happening.

RELATED: Johnson Moves for Trump Protection Against Greene With Mar-a-Lago Joint Press Conference

“President Biden has created a catastrophe and he did it by design,” Johnson alleged. “Why invite everybody from around the world to come here, including hardened criminals and dangerous persons?”

Neither President Biden nor his administration invited “everybody from around the world to come here,” but what if he did? Why shouldn’t he, if America is the greatest country on earth, why shouldn’t the President invite, urge people from other countries to lawfully come to America, the land of opportunity, the land of the free, the home of the brave, where immigrants have been called the “backbone” of the nation.

Federal laws can help keep “hardened criminals and dangerous persons” out, and federal border agents could do a better job if Donald Trump had allowed a vote on the Senate bipartisan border bill.

Johnson also claimed that immigration “has all sorts of terrible effects on the American people. We know that fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 49.”

Most of the fentanyl flooding the country is smuggled in by Americans, not “across the border” but through U.S. ports of entry. Nearly nine out of ten fentanyl smugglers are U.S. citizens, according to the right wing Cato Institute.

Watch a portion of Speaker Johnson’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

 

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OPINION

‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

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As Donald Trump continues to try to make inroads with Black voters, his allegedly spontaneous viral visit to an Atlanta Chick-fil-A on Wednesday came at just the right time for the indicted ex-president as the patrons and staff, mostly young Black women, appeared to gush over him.

Fox News went wild over the encounter, calling it a “surprise visit.

Video showed Trump casually declaring in the middle of the restaurant, with his arms opened wide, “Let me give you a hug,” and a young woman running over into his arms.

“Fox & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones the next morning called it, “such an organic moment because you had all these people that obviously knew the president was there but were Trump supporters as well. Minorities.”

Jones then painted the stark “contrast” between President Joe Biden’s State Dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday evening, and the ex-president who just happened to walk into a Chick-fil-A and ordered 30 milkshakes. Jones appeared agitated by the Biden State Dinner, saying, “You got the current president, the ‘smoozing,’ State Dinner, you got the Clinton – why does another former president have to do a State Dinner with the current president? I think that’s strange.”

But it had not taken long for some to say it seemed staged.

READ MORE: ‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

“The odds of Trump walking into a Chick-Fil-A in a big city like Atlanta, and every single customer in there just happening to be a supporter, are infinitesimally small. The whole thing was obviously staged to ensure that only his supporters were inside,” observed the social media account for The Palmer Report just hours after the Chick-fil-A visit took place.

MeidasTouch Network on Friday reports, “Trump’s Viral Hug At Chick-fil-A Was With a MAGA Operative,” and notes the woman Trump supposedly spontaneously hugged, Michaelah Montgomery “is a ‘political consultant’ and former Georgia GOP intern.”

Former CNN commentator Keith Boykin, the co-founder of the National Black Justice Coalition, wrote: “I knew it! Trump’s Chick-fil-A stop was a staged photo op with Black Republican supporters. Michaelah Montgomery, the Black woman who told Trump that ‘we support you,’ actually runs a conservative group and worked with Candace Owens’s Blexit Foundation.”

Ron Filipkowski, editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, explained, “Just like his fake union rally & lie about calling Ruby Garcia’s family, the Trump excursion to Chick-fil-A was a staged op with a political consultant who has done work with the GOP, Charlie Kirk & Candace Owens’ orgs.” Linking to their report, Filipkowski, an attorney and former Republican calls it a “pattern of fraud.”

READ MORE: ‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

The liberal PAC PatriotTakes reposted a Trump campaign video, added screenshots, and wrote, “These Trump photo ops are pre-staged with supporters prior to his arrival.”

Despite all this evidence, Friday afternoon Fox News continued to hype the two-day old “viral” event, with host John Roberts telling viewers, “That was a true retail politics moment there. Biden goes in to get ice cream, he grabs himself a double scoop and walks out. Trump goes in and buys everyone lunch.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

 

 

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News

‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

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Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

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