First inscription of two fathers in Argentina

Tomorrow morning, in Buenos Aires, the first inscription of the birth of a baby with two fathers will be done in Argentina. Tobías is a boy who was born a few weeks ago in India after a surrogacy process. He’s now arrived to Argentina and both his fathers will be registered with no distinction between the biological one and the other one.

 

Although Marriage Equality Act states that no difference should be made between children of same or different sex couples, and besides the fact that many birth certificates with two mothers have already been made, it wasn’t easy to get to this point as the Civil Registry was at first reluctant to do it, but the work of the Legal Staff of the FALGBT made it possible. I want to recognize my colleagues at that point.

 

Moreover, a modification to Argentina’s Civil Code is being debated in the Congress which would made this kind of registrations standard in all the country. We’ll keep you up to date about this process.

 

Which Mother for Isabella? Civil Union Ends in an Abduction and Questions

July 28, 2012 – New York Times
By

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Lisa A. Miller and her daughter, Isabella, started their fugitive lives here in the fall of 2009, disguised in the white scarves and long blue dresses of the Mennonites who spirited them out of the United States and adopting the aliases Sarah and Lydia.

Now 10, Isabella Miller-Jenkins has spent her last three birthdays on the run, “bouncing around the barrios of Nicaragua,” as one federal agent put it, a lively blond girl and her mother trying to blend in and elude the United States marshals who have traveled to the country in pursuit.

She can now chatter in Spanish, but her time in Nicaragua has often been lonely, those who have met her say, long on prayer but isolated. She has been told that she could be wrenched from her mother if they are caught. She has also been told that the other woman she once called “Mama,” Ms. Miller’s former partner from a civil union in Vermont that she has since renounced, cannot go to heaven because she lives in sin with women.

Isabella’s tumultuous life has embodied some of America’s bitterest culture wars — a choice, as Ms. Miller said in a courtroom plea, shortly before their desperate flight, “between two diametrically opposed worldviews on parentage and family.”

Isabella was 7 when she and Ms. Miller jumped into a car in Virginia, leaving behind their belongings and a family of pet hamsters to die without food or water. Supporters drove them to Buffalo, where they took a taxi to Canada and boarded a flight to Mexico and then Central America.

Ms. Miller, 44, is wanted by the F.B.I. and Interpol for international parental kidnapping. In their underground existence in this impoverished tropical country, she and Isabella have been helped by evangelical groups who endorse her decision to flee rather than to expose Isabella to the “homosexual lifestyle” of her other legal mother, Janet Jenkins.

In a tale filled with improbables, an Amish Mennonite sect known for simple living and avoiding politics has been drawn into the high-stakes criminal case: one of its pastors is facing trial in Vermont on Aug. 7 on charges of abetting the kidnapping.

The decade-long drama touches on some of the country’s most contentious social and legal questions, including the extension of civil union and marital rights to same-sex couples and what happens, in the courts and to children, when such unions dissolve.

Click here to read the entire article.

Children of Gay Federal Workers May Receive Health Coverage

New York Times  by Tara Siegel Bernard – July 26, 2012

A proposed rule would extend health insurance to the children of gay people who are partnered with federal employees. But the domestic partners themselves would still be blocked from coverage because of the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The rule, proposed by the Office of Personnel Management last week, was written in response to a 2009 memo by President Obama that asked the agency’s director to figure out where it was possible to extend benefits to qualified same-sex partners of federal workers and their families under the confines of the current law.

The proposal is significant because same-sex couples often have trouble establishing legal ties to their children, as I pointed out in a column published on Saturday. Many states only allow one parent to form legal links to a child, which often leaves both the parent and child vulnerable. The child, for instance, may be unable to receive insurance through the employer of a nonbiological parent, which can be a particularly big burden if that parent is the sole breadwinner.

Click here to read the entire article.

Controversial Gay-Parenting Study Is Severely Flawed, Journal’s Audit Finds

July 26, 2012 – The Chronicle, Percolator

By Tom Bartlett

The peer-review process failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems with a controversial and widely publicized study that seemed to raise doubts about the parenting abilities of gay couples, according to an internal audit scheduled to appear in the November issue of the journal, Social Science Research,that published the study.

The highly critical audit, a draft of which was provided to The Chronicle by the journal’s editor, also cites conflicts of interest among the reviewers, and states that “scholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review process.”

Since it was published last month, the study, titled “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships?,” has been the subject of numerous news articles and blog posts. It has been used by opponents of same-sex marriage to make their case, and it’s been blasted by gay-rights activists as flawed and biased.

The study’s author, Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, even made the cover of The Weekly Standard. In the illustration, he is strapped to a Catherine wheel that’s being tended by masked torturers.

Click here to read the entire article.

Massachusetts SJC: Civil Unions Equivalent to Marriage

GLAD Applauds Groundbreaking Ruling

In an important unanimous decision issued today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled for the first time that a civil union must be treated as equivalent to marriage.

The ruling came in the case Elia-Warnken v. Elia. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) represented Richard Elia, who obtained a license to marry Todd Warnken in October 2005. Mr. Elia did not know at the time that Mr. Warnken was in a civil union with another person, which they had entered into in Vermont in April 2003. Mr. Warnken and Mr. Elia lived together as spouses until December 2008, and Mr. Warnken filed for divorce in April 2009. Upon learning that Mr. Warnken had never dissolved his pre-existing civil union, Mr. Elia filed a motion to dismiss the divorce complaint, arguing that because of the civil union their marriage was never valid and therefore there was nothing to dissolve.

The SJC agreed. “[R]efusing to recognize a civil union would be inconsistent with the core legal and public policy concerns articulated in Goodridge … protection and furtherance of the rights of same-sex couples.”

“It has always been the law of the Commonwealth that a person may have only one spouse at a time, and this was simply a matter of consistently applying long established principles to the legal relationships of same-sex couples,” said Senior Staff Attorney Ben Klein. “We’re pleased that the SJC decided that spouses in civil unions are bound by the same rules as spouses in a marriage when it comes to dissolving legal relationships before entering into a new legal relationship with a different person.”

“The Court made a fair decision that ensures that other people in my situation will be treated equally, because no one should have to go through what I’ve been through,” said Mr. Elia. “I am happy this case is over and I can move on with my life.”

 

The decision can be read on here on GLAD’s website.

 

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

Georgia appeals court upholds a second-parent adoption on narrow grounds and expresses doubt about whether such adoptions are allowed in Georgia

July 24, 2012 – Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage by Nancy Polikoff

It’s another lesbian-behaving-badly case, this one entitled Bates v. Bates.  In 2007, a lesbian couple, Nicole and Tina Bates, successfully petitioned a Georgia trial court for a second-parent adoption that made Tina a legal parent of the child Nicole gave birth to after conception through donor insemination.  Three years later, after the couple split up, Nicole went back to the same court and asked for the adoption to be set aside.  (Even after all these years, and everything I know, I cannot write this last sentence without screaming inside.)  The court denied the motion, finding that Georgia law did not allow an adoption to be challenged after six months.  Nicole unsuccesfully petitioned to appeal that order.
Meanwhile, Tina had filed for custody in a different county.  After Nicole lost her initial attempt to void the adoption, she moved to dismiss Tina’s custody action by arguing, again, that the adoption decree was not valid.  The judge granted Nicole’s motion to dismiss and so threw out Tina’s custody petition.  The trial judge found that Georgia does not allow second-parent adoption.  It also ruled that it could not adjudicate custody of the child because the Georgia Constitution prohibits courts from ruling on the “respective rights arising as a result of or in connection with [a relationship between persons of the same sex].”
Tina appealed, and in the Bates decision issued two weeks ago, the Court of Appeals of Georgia, Third Division, ruled in her favor.  But it did so on the narrow ground that Nicole had had her shot at claiming the adoption void and had lost.  Having lost once, she could not relitigate the same issue in a different court. (This legal doctrine goes by the Latin term res judicata.)  In the process of ruling for Tina, however, the court expressed skepticism about whether Georgia does, in fact, allow second-parent adoption.  It suggested Nicole’s argument had “merit,” and called the practice of second-parent adoption in Georgia “doubtful.”   The court therefore sent Tina’s custody petition back to the trial court.  The court noted that adjudicating the custody of the child arises out of the adoption decree and not the relationship between Tina and Nicole and therefore does not run afoul of the state constitution. There is no indication in the opinion about when Tina last saw her child.

Click here to read the entire article.