Group Issues Parenting Guidelines
In addition to advice for LGBT parents, the GLAD publication is also aimed at encouraging “lawyers who work with LGBT families” to pledge to endorse the standards and share them with their LGBT clients. The guidelines advise same-sex partners to “obtain legal recognition of your parent-child relationships” when possible. It also includes 10 standards for LGBT parents, including the following:
Special Report - September 12, 2011
A homosexual advocacy group has released an updated set of legal guidelines for same-sex parents that encourages them to avoid using state marriage and/or adoption laws that uphold the rights of natural parents against their former same-sex partners in custody disputes. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (or GLAD), a New England based legal rights group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, issued the new guidelines, “Protecting Our Families: Standards for LGBT Families,” on September 8. The standards, which were originally released in 1999, have been revised and updated to reflect new laws that allow same-sex “marriage,” civil unions or domestic partnerships, as well as state laws where same-sex couples are allowed to adopt. According to a GLAD press release, the purpose of the updated standards is to “remind LGBT parents of the importance of legally protecting the families they create and to caution parents against wielding anti-LGBT laws against their partner should their relationship break up.”
- That parents and attorneys “honor existing relationships” between same-sex partners and children, “regardless of legal labels;”
- That the “absence of agreements or legal relationships” should not be the determining factor in child custody disputes. Instead, GLAD argues, “What matters is how the adults have viewed their relationships with their children over time;”
- That it is “wrong and unethical for parents or lawyers to take advantage of anti-LGBT laws.”
The last point regarding so-called “anti-LGBT laws,” which is number 10 in the GLAD guidelines, also urges same-sex partners not to “resort to arguments that a person who is not a ‘legal’ parent has no right to seek custody or visitation,” and recommends that no one “reveal or threaten to reveal the sexual orientation or transgender status of an opposing parent” in a custody battle.
In its press release announcing the updated standards, GLAD specifically mentions North Carolina, where a custody dispute between two former same-sex partners (in this case former State Senator Julia Boseman and Melissa Jarrell) resulted in a ruling by the State Supreme Court that same-sex couples cannot jointly adopt here. In the landmark 2010 decision in Boseman v. Jarrell, the North Carolina Supreme Court confirmed that “second-parent” adoption, a popular legal tactic that homosexual activists are using nationwide to help same-sex couples adopt, is not allowed in North Carolina and voided Boseman’s adoption of Jarrell’s biological child. Currently, according to the Human Rights Campaign, “second-parent” adoption (where a same-sex partner can petition the court to adopt the biological child of his or her partner) is legal in 10 states plus the District of Columbia. Additionally, 16 states plus the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt children.
In the Boseman case, there was a secondary question regarding custody of the child in light of his having been primarily raised by both Jarrell and Boseman. Regarding Jarrell’s request that she be granted sole custody, the Supreme Court concluded “that by intentionally creating a family unit in which defendant [Jarrell] permanently shared parental responsibilities with plaintiff [Boseman], defendant acted inconsistently with her paramount parental status. Thus, the District Court, New Hanover County, (“the trial court”) did not err by utilizing the “best interest of the child” standard to make its custody award. As such, we reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision that the adoption decree is valid and affirm as modified its conclusion leaving undisturbed the trial court’s decision that the parties are entitled to joint custody of the child.” The decision went on to explain that under North Carolina case law, “when a parent brings a nonparent into the family unit, represents that the nonparent is a parent, and voluntarily gives custody of the child to the nonparent without creating an expectation that the relationship would be terminated, the parent has acted inconsistently with her paramount parental status.” Such actions, according to the Court, validate the lower court decision to issue joint custody as a determined to be in the best interest of a child who had bonded with both women as his mothers.
“Why Gender Matters to Parenting,” - FNC- Spring 2011
Court Rules Same-Sex Adoption Void - December 21, 2010
Louisiana Same-Sex Adoption Case - October 11, 2010
Supreme Court Hears Same-Sex Adoption Case - September 9, 2010
Brief Filed In Same-Sex Adoption Case - March 3, 2010
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