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SECURING LEGAL TIES FOR CHILDREN
LIVING IN LGBT FAMILIES

July 2012

A State Strategy and Policy Guide

A Companion Report to All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families.
Both reports are co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, the Family Equality Council, and the Center for American Progress.

Authors In Partnership With

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This report was developed in partnership with:

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national not-
for-profit, is the leading research, policy and education
organization in its field. The Institute’s mission is to provide
leadership that improves laws, policies and practices—
through sound research, education and advocacy—in order to
better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. To achieve
its goals, the Institute conducts and synthesizes research,
offers education to inform public opinion, promotes ethical
practices and legal reforms, and works to translate policy into
action. For more information, visit www.adoptioninstitute.org.

Equality Federation
Equality Federation is the national alliance of state-
based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
advocacy organizations. The Federation works to achieve
equality for LGBT people in every state and territory by
building strong and sustainable statewide organizations
in a state-based movement. For more information, visit
www.equalityfederation.org.

This report was authored by:

Movement Advancement Project
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent
think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and
analysis that help speed equality for LGBT people. MAP works
collaboratively with LGBT organizations, advocates and
funders, providing information, analysis and resources that
help coordinate and strengthen their efforts for maximum
impact. MAP also conducts policy research to inform the
public and policymakers about the legal and policy needs of
LGBT people and their families. For more information, visit
www.lgbtmap.org.

Family Equality Council
Family Equality Council works to ensure equality for LGBT
families by building community, changing public opinion,
advocating for sound policy and advancing social justice for
all families. Family Equality Council provides support and
resources to LGBT-headed families, and leverages the power
of families by sharing their stories and driving change in
communities and states across the nation. Family Equality
Council educates members of government, schools, faith-
based communities, healthcare institutions and other social
systems about how they can promote family equality. Family
Equality Council also partners with other LGBT and broader
social justice organizations to provide the greatest positive
impact and to maximize resources. For more information, visit
www.familyequality.org.

Center for American Progress
The Center for American Progress (CAP) is a think tank
dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas
and action. CAP combines bold policy ideas with a modern
communications platform to help shape the national debate.
CAP is designed to provide long-term leadership and support
to the progressive movement. CAP’s policy experts cover a
wide range of issue areas, and often work across disciplines to
tackle complex, interrelated issues such as national security,
energy, and climate change. For more information, visit
www.americanprogress.org.

About This Report

This report is a supplemental companion report to “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families,”
which is available online through www.lgbtmap.org/lgbt-families or through any of the co-author websites.

We suggest the following citation for this condensed report: Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and Center
for American Progress, “Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families,” July 2012.

This report incorporates information current as of June 30, 2012.

Movement Advancement Project
2215 Market Street
Denver, CO 80205
720-274-3263
www.lgbtmap.org

Family Equality Council
P.O. Box 206
Boston, MA 02133
617-502-8700
www.familyequality.org

Center for American Progress
1333 H Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
202-682-1611
www.americanprogress.org

Contact Information

Acknowledgments

MAP thanks the following funders, without whom this
report would not have been possible.

• Arcus Foundation
• David Bohnett Foundation
• David Dechman
• David Geffen Foundation
• Ford Foundation
• Gill Foundation
• Jim Hormel
• Johnson Family Foundation
• Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis
• Weston Milliken
• Kevin J. Mossier Foundation
• The Palette Fund
• Mona Pittenger
• Two Sisters and a Wife Foundation
• H. van Ameringen Foundation

MAP also thanks the many families who shared their
stories with us.

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org
http://www.equalityfederation.org
http://www.lgbtmap.org
http://www.familyequality.org
http://www.americanprogress.org
http://www.lgbtmap.org/lgbt-families

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Connecticut
Parental Recognition Laws

As of July, 2012

Marriage Positive laws already codified for statewide freedom to marry (see Conn. Gen. Stat. §§1-1m. 46b-20) and for rec-
ognition of out-of-jurisdiction civil unions, equivalent domestic partnerships and marriages (see Conn. Gen. Stat
§§ 46b-28a through 46b-28b). Note: Civil unions from Connecticut that were formed prior to freedom to marry
were automatically converted into marriages in Connecticut on October 1, 2010.

Relationship
Recognition

See “Marriage.” Positive laws already codified for recognition of out-of-jurisdiction civil unions, equivalent
domestic partnerships and marriages (see Conn. Gen. Stat §§ 46b-28a through 46b-28b). Note: Civil unions
from Connecticut that were formed prior to freedom to marry were automatically converted into marriages in
Connecticut on October 1, 2010.

Foster Care Amend Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-726a to remove the consideration of sexual orientation of prospective
foster parents (and adoptive parents, see "Joint Adoption") in placement decisions (note: positive law is
already codified prohibiting state agencies from discriminating based upon sexual orientation (Conn. Gen.
Stat. § 46a-81i) and gender identity or expression (Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-71) yet §45a-726a allows specific
consideration despite the more general protections in §46a-81i for sexual orientation). Expand laws to
explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for foster children and
to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity for prospective and existing foster parents.
See Department of Children and Families Policy Manual 30-9, Nondiscrimination of LGBTQI Individuals, May
14, 2004. See also Monica S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2011 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1434 (2011). Note:
Connecticut also has a general statewide law prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of gender
identity or expression and sexual orientation (see See Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-58).

Joint Adoption Existing statutes clearly allow (and require) married couples to petition jointly for adoption. Amend adoption
laws to explicitly allow joint adoption by unmarried couples, to remove the consideration of the sexual
orientation of prospective adoptive parents in placement decisions, and to explicitly prohibit discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for potential adoptive parents. Positive law is already
codified that prohibits state agencies from discrimination based upon sexual orientation; expand to explicitly
prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §45a-732, §45a-726a, §46a-81i and
Department of Children and Families Policy Manual 30-9, Nondiscrimination of LGBTQI Individuals, May 14,
2004. Note: Connecticut also has a general statewide law prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of
gender identity or expression and sexual orientation (see See Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-58).

Second-Parent
Adoption

Positive law also codified permitting any parent of a minor child to agree in writing and jointly petition for
adoption with one other person who shares parental responsibility for the child as long the parental rights,
if any, of person other than the joint petitioners have been terminated. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 45a-724 (a)
(3) and 45a-731(5)-(7). Note: Married residents of Connecticut may adopt as stepparents (see Conn. Gen. State
§45a-724(a)(2)).

Donor Insemination Amend existing consent-to-inseminate and parental presumption provisions of donor insemination laws to
apply irrespective of gender or marital status of intended parents. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-771, et seq. Note:
Connecticut law applies to both married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples despite the fact
that some laws may not be gender-neutral.

De Facto Parenting Positive law already codified allowing the granting of custody and visitation rights to any person (see Conn. Gen.
Stat. §46b-56 and §46b-59). Expand existing law to allow family courts to recognize de facto parents as a basis
for full parenting rights when in a child's best interests.

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Delaware
Parental Recognition Laws

As of July, 2012

Marriage Amend 13 Del. Code § 101(a). Extend full recognition of out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages and extend
freedom to marry, allowing individuals with both in-state and valid out-of-jurisdiction civil unions and
equivalent domestic partnerships to obtain a Delaware marriage license with a legal date retroactive to the
earlier civil union or domestic partnership effective date. Note: Out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages are
currently recognized as civil unions (see 13 Del. Code §213).

Relationship
Recognition

Positive law already codified for civil unions and for recognition of out-of-jurisdiction equivalent relationships
(see 13 Del. Code §§201-217). Note: Out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages are also currently recognized as
civil unions (see 13 Del. Code §213).

Foster Care Amend existing laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity for foster children and prospective and existing foster parents.

Joint Adoption Existing statutes clearly allow (and require) married couples and couples in civil unions to petition jointly
for adoption. Amend adoption laws to explicitly allow joint adoption by unmarried couples and to explicitly
prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for prospective adoptive
parents (see 13 Del. Code § 903).

Second-Parent
Adoption

Codify existing family court case law and pass laws to explicitly permit an adult, with the consent of a legal
parent, to adopt the legal parent's child, thus securing legal ties to both parents. See In the interest of Hart,
806 A.2d 1179 (Del Fam. Ct. 2001). Note: Residents of Connecticut in civil unions may adopt as stepparents
(See 13 Del. Code §904 et seq.).

Donor Insemination Codify existing family court case law and amend existing consent-to-inseminate and parental presumption
provisions of donor insemination laws to apply irrespective of gender or marital status of intended parents. See
13 Del. Code § 8-102, et seq. and Chambers v. Chambers, 2005 Del. Fam. Ct. LEXIS 39, (Del. Fam. Ct., 2005). Note:
Delaware laws apply to Delaware residents in civil unions despite the fact that some laws may not be gender-
neutral or specify broader application to residents in recognized relationships outside of marriage.

De Facto Parenting Positive law already codified. State fully recognizes de facto parents and may grant them visitation, custody or
full parenting rights when in a child's best interests (see 13 Del. Code §§ 8-201 through 8-203). See also Smith
v. Guest, 16 A.3d 920 (Del. 2011).

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60 Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Amendment Act of 2009, D.C. Official Code, http://www.dccouncil.us/images/00001/20090511122621.pdf.
See Appendix 2 of this report for more details about this law.

61 New Mexico Uniform Parentage Act, 2009 N.M. Laws 215, §§ 7-703, 7-704; Polikoff, “A Mother Should Not Have to Adopt Her Own Child,” 240.
62 Shineovich v. Kemp (229 Ore. App. 670), 214 P.3d 29, (Ore. App. 2009, cert. denied).
63 Clarifying and Expanding the Rights and Obligations of State Registered Domestic Partners and Other Couples Related to Parentage, H.R. 1267, http://www.washington-

votes.org/2011-HB-1267.
64 Center for American Progress, “Assisted Reproductive Technologies: A Glossary,” http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/12/art_resources.html.
65 Comprehensive statistics about use of egg donation and surrogacy are unavailable. However, given the extraordinary costs associated with these options, it is unlikely

that large percentages of LGBT families undertake these options. One surrogacy agency targeting LGBT couples estimates that its services cost between $115,000 and
$150,000. Abbie E. Goldberg, Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle, American Psychological Association, 2010.

66 Because most employee benefits are regulated under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which does not recognize same-sex couples because
of DOMA, most employers are not required to (although they may opt to) offer health benefits to the partners or non-recognized children of LGBT workers, even if those
workers are legally married in their state. Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor and Jessica C. Smith, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the
United States: 2010,” US Census Bureau, 2011 found that 55% of Americans received health insurance through an employer, their spouse’s employer, or their parents’
employer. Specifically for “working age” Americans, 63% received health insurance through an employer, and more than half of employees chose coverage that included
at least one other family member, such as a spouse or child.

67 See Full Report, pp. 79-83.
68 See Full Report, pp. 85-89.
69 See Full Report, pp. 43-45.
70 See Full Report, pp. 47-48.
71 See Full Report, pp. 73-76.
72 See Full Report, pp 76-78.
73 See Full Report, pp. 51-66 and Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and Center for American Progress, “Strengthening Economic Security for Children

Living in LGBT Families,” January 2012.
74 Because the application of existing surrogacy statutes to LGBT families is an emerging area of the law, we have not provided a legislative or regulatory model in this area.

We also have not provided model legislation for parental presumption laws because parentage presumptions do not result in a court judgment and do not hold across
state lines.

75 For instance, British and Dutch law both explicitly permit joint adoption by unmarried partners without restriction with provisions similar to the New York statute above.
76 See Shawn R. Gebhardt, Full Faith and Credit for Status Records: A Reconsideration of Gardiner, 97 CALIF. L. REV. 1419 (2009) and Nancy D. Polikoff, A Mother Should Not

Have To Adopt Her Own Child: Parentage Laws for Children of Lesbian Couples in the 21st Century, 5 STAN. J. OF C.R. & C.L. 101 (2009).

http://www.dccouncil.us/images/00001/20090511122621.pdf
http://www.washingtonvotes.org/2011-HB-1267
http://www.washingtonvotes.org/2011-HB-1267
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/12/art_resources.html

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Copyright © 2012, Movement Advancement Project

2215 Market Street • Denver, CO 80205
720-274-3263

www.lgbtmap.org

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