Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MOMBIAN LGBTQ parenting: The year in review
by Dana Rudolph
2020-01-08

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


This past year saw many challenges to LGBTQ equality—but there was still some progress. Let's review the parenting-specific news of the year.

Some setbacks

The Trump administration's Department of Health and Human Services ( HHS ) was perhaps the biggest antagonist of the year. HHS began in January by granting South Carolina a waiver so that federally funded adoption and foster care agencies in the state may discriminate based on a person's religion, LGBTQ identity, or other factors that do not fit with the religious or moral beliefs that the agency espouses.

HHS proposed another rule in April that would abandon the collection of data related to the sexual orientation of youth, parents, and guardians connected to the foster care system, except when a case worker knows that this is related to the reason a child was removed from their home. LGBTQ and child welfare organizations say the fuller data would have helped to serve LGBTQ youth more effectively.

In May, HHS finalized a rule that allows any health care worker—from doctors to clerical staff—to deny medical treatment, information, and services to patients because of the worker's personal religious or moral beliefs, even if their institution takes federal funds like Medicare or Medicaid. The rule focuses mainly on abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide, which is bad enough, but it could also lead to health care workers refusing to serve LGBTQ people or their children, to deny them fertility treatments, treatment or preventative care for HIV/AIDS, or care related to gender transitions.

In November, however, just a couple of weeks before the rule was set to go into effect, three federal district courts, in California, New York, and Washington, said the rule was unconstitutional and completely vacated it. It remains in effect in other districts, however; and the decisions could be appealed by HHS.

On Nov. 1, however, HHS also issued a new rule that similarly would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people and others by all recipients of HHS grants, including foster care and adoption agencies as well as programs dedicated to youth homelessness, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and substance abuse prevention, among others. While ten states ( Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia ) already allow child service agencies to similarly discriminate in foster care and adoption, the new HHS rule would enshrine such discrimination at the federal level and extend it to the full range of HHS services.

The State Department also showed its anti-LGBTQ side. Two married, two-dad couples sued the department for refusing to recognize the U.S. citizenship of their children, born via surrogacy abroad, even though the parents are all citizens. These families join two other same-sex couples, each of which has at least one U.S. citizen parent, who have been fighting the department over their children's citizenship for several years.

On the state level, both New York and Rhode Island saw the failure of bills that would have more effectively protected families formed through assisted reproduction by offering cheaper and easier ways to ensure firm legal recognition of nonbiological parents. The New York bill would also have legalized gestational surrogacy ( where the surrogate does not contribute the egg ).

In Michigan, two same-sex couples filed a lawsuit against the state after they were rejected by two Christian adoption agencies with state contracts. In a March settlement, Michigan said it would require all state-contracted child welfare agencies to accept all qualified families, including same-sex couples. Then in May, one of the agencies sued the state in turn, claiming it had a constitutional right to be exempt from that requirement. A federal district court agreed with the agency in a September injunction, allowing it to maintain its contract while refusing to work with same-sex couples and unmarried people while the case is fully litigated.

In a separate case in April, however, a Catholic child service agency in Philadelphia was denied a similar injunction by a federal appeals court. That's good—though the case could now be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court ( and the Michigan case could ultimately find its way there as well ).

Signs of progress

The Equality Act—a comprehensive, federal LGBTQ civil rights bill—passed the U.S. House in May. It offers protections against discrimination in foster care and adoption as well as in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education and other areas.

More focused on children and family, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act was introduced in both houses for the sixth Congress in a row. It prohibits discrimination in foster care and adoption on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status, as with past versions, but also bans it on the basis of religion; bans conversion therapy; directs HHS to assist states, tribes, and agencies in improving services to LGBTQ and two-spirit foster youth; and requires HHS to collect data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of children and parents connected to the foster care system. The bill would counter many of HHS' moves this year, but looks unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.

The American Bar Association, the "national representative of the legal profession," in January adopted a resolution that "Opposes laws, regulations, and rules or practices that discriminate against LGBT individuals in the exercise of the fundamental right to parent." While that clearly didn't stop HHS, it's good to know that many of the nation's lawyers view HHS' moves as discriminatory.

On the state level, Connecticut, New Jersey and Oregon each enacted laws that extend paid family leave with broad definitions of who's in a family.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court not only ruled in favor of a nonbiological mother in a child custody case in June, but established guidelines for future cases, writing conclusively that "A non-biological same-sex parent stands in parity with a biological parent."

Arizona, in April, repealed an anti-LGBTQ law that had banned instruction in public school health curricula that "Promotes a homosexual life-style" or suggests there are "safe methods of homosexual sex."

More than three dozen queer parents elected in 2018 took office in January 2019 at all levels of government. Additionally, in April, two lesbian moms were elected mayors: Lori Lightfoot in Chicago and Jane Castor in Tampa, Florida.

Financial giants J. P. Morgan and MassMutual each announced expanded fertility benefits to help LGBTQ employees start or grow their families. Among other features, these benefits are offered without requiring a medical diagnosis of infertility—-useful for single people and couples who simply don't have both egg and sperm.

In a major reversal of policy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( the Mormons ) in April said that children of LGBT parents may now be blessed and baptized in the faith, and that same-sex couples in the LDS Church will no longer be considered "apostates," although marrying a person of the same sex is still "a serious transgression."

This was also another banner year for LGBTQ-inclusive children's books in quality and quantity—too many to list here, but I've rounded up some of the best at mombian.com .

A loss

Sharon Mattes, known as Sharon Bottoms when she fought to overcome anti-LGBTQ bias in a legal battle for custody of her son in the 1990s—a headline case for queer parents—died in February at age 48.

Looking ahead

While it's easy to get disheartened over the significant political setbacks, I hope we can take heart at the progress that has been made, even if it is less than we would like. Next year may be similar—but it is also an election year. We may never have a perfect candidate, but we can still vote for the one most likely to make a positive difference for ourselves and our families.

Wishing you joy and love this holiday season, and a more equitable new year for us all.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( mombian.com ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

No word yet on Chicago Pride Parade, "global" online celebration planned 2020-04-03 - As city officials and others craft an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic, decisions about various LGBT Pride events in June still loom. ...


Gay News

Lakeview Pantry, local groups address COVID-19 restaurant layoffs, hunger 2020-04-03 - CHICAGO — April 3, 2020 — Lakeview Pantry, Chicago's largest food pantry, has partnered with the Lavin Family Foundation and Cubs Charities to ...


Gay News

LETTER Missing Marc 2020-04-03 - Dear Editor: I want to add some thoughts about the contributions Marc Loveless made beyond those mentioned in his obituary in the ...


Gay News

FDA loosens restrictions on gay men who donate blood 2020-04-02 - On April 2, The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) said it would loosen some of the restrictions that have blocked gay ...


Gay News

'All in Illinois' launched to reinforce message to stay home 2020-04-02 - Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new statewide effort April 2 called "All in Illinois" to reinforce the state's core message, backed by scientists ...


Gay News

Democratic National Convention now in August 2020-04-02 - In a letter to the media, The Democratic National Convention (DNC) media logistics team announced that the 2020 event will be held the ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre's Wonka Ball and Laced production postponed 2020-04-01 - CHICAGO ( April 1, 2020 )— About Face Theatre today announced the postponement of its annual benefit gala and its planned production of ...


Gay News

International Prides coming together for June 27 event amid COVID-19 cancellations 2020-04-01 - Pride organizations around the world have come together to organize a "Global Pride" event on Saturday, June 27, in response to the hundreds ...


Gay News

Advocates: LGBTQs face additional complications in pandemic 2020-04-01 - Members of the LGBT community face additional healthcare challenges as they contend with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, according to national LGBTQ-health advocates and ...


Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01 - As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.