The Affordable Care Act and LGBT Families: Everything You Need to Know

By Heron Greenesmith, Andrew Cray, and Kellan Baker | May 23, 2013

Center For American Progress

President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA, into law on March 23, 2010. Many Americans have already benefited from the ACA, and millions more will benefit as the law fully comes into effect. By January 1, 2014, the law’s provisions will be underway, ensuring that millions of Americans will be able to afford the health care that they need.

This guide will help couples and parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, understand how the ACA benefits LGBT people and their families. The guide provides a basic overview of the Affordable Care Act, a review of how the act helps you and your family, and an explanation of how you and your family can access affordable health insurance.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act established online Health Insurance Marketplaces, and starting January 1, 2014, each state will offer its own Marketplace system. Some Marketplaces will be run by the state itself, some through a partnership with the federal government, while others will be run by the federal government alone.

The Marketplaces will act as a one-stop shop for health insurance. Every American will be able to buy insurance directly through his or her Marketplace website, hotline, or physical office and receive assistance from unbiased consumer-assistance agents called “Navigators.”

An overview of the Affordable Care Act

The ACA requires nearly all Americans to have access to affordable health insurance starting in 2014. If you cannot get insurance for yourself or your family through your employer, you will be able to buy insurance through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

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LGBT: Portuguese parliament approves right to adoption – Portugal

May 17, 2103 – Portugese-Amercian-Journal.com

Portuguese parliament has approved Friday two bills that will allow gay couples to adopt children. The bill was approved with 99 votes in favor, 94 votes against, and 9 abstentions.

The bills were supported by the ruling center-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the progressive Socialist Party (PS).

The Portuguese parliament had approved the right to same-sex marriages in 2010, but without adoption rights. The law allowed gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples, including taxes, inheritance and housing, but didn’t offer the right to adopt children.

Portugal is among the first 10 counties in the world to allow same-sex marriage. As recently as 1982, homosexuality was a crime in Portugal.

Today, Portugal has wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws and is one of the few countries in the world to contain a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in its Constitution.

The first same-sex marriages in the world took place in the Netherlands on April 1, 2001. The countries that followed were Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Brazil.

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Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee Signs Gay Marriage Bill

Ontopmag.com, by Carlos Santoscoy – May 2, 2013

Moments after a gay marriage bill cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, signed it into law on the steps of the State House.

The measure cleared the Senate last Wednesday with the help of all 5 of its Republican members.  It returned to a House committee on Wednesday to reconcile some language differences between a version approved three months earlier in the House.

House lawmakers approved the legislation with a 56-15 vote, a better outcome for supporters than the previous 51-19 vote.

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Letting Go of a Baby, but Not the Emotions

By KERRI MACDONALD – New York Times – May 10, 2013

In the days after Liam Pursley was born in April, the woman who carried him for nine months barely saw him.

Liam spent most of his time with his mother and father, Jamie and Jacob Pursley. His surrogate mother, Kristen Broome, stayed in a separate hospital room, trying to navigate the swirl of emotions.

“I held him and cried,” Ms. Broome said of the first time she saw Liam, about an hour after he was born. “I cried because I realized he was not mine and I had zero connection. It was an amazing emotion. I did not hold him again until almost 36 hours later; I had zero urge to.”

That made reality easier.

In an essay she plans to publish soon on her blog, Ms. Broome, 24, writes: “I have been asked more times than I can count how I felt when I gave Liam away. My first response is always that I didn’t give Liam away; he was never mine to give.”

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New Study: Americans Say Family Is Evolving and Same-Sex Parents Are Great

A full 87% say that the traditional family has evolved and they are okay with that.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall – Advocate.com

May 08 2013

Turns out the the critics of Murphy Brown — who had a child out of wedlock on TV and got lambasted by then Vice President Dan Quayle for doing so — were right about one thing: TV does have an impact on how Americans view the concept of family. According to a new study by uSamp and Oxygen Media, a full 87% of Americans believe the definition of a traditional family has evolved and 55% say there is no longer such a thing as a “traditional” family. Society is apparently becoming increasingly more comfortable with how family is defined and judged, as well as changing gender roles in the new family dynamic.

The study finds that Diff’rent Strokes (a ’70s series in which a single white guy adopted two black kids) may have been ahead of its time; it and other shows like Modern Family and The New Normal and even the Oxygen series I’m Having Their Baby (which featured a young mother choosing a gay couple to adopt her child last season) reflect how Americans see the world now.

Oxygen commissioned the study to coincide with their first docu-short film, Untold Stories of Motherhood, director Marilyn Agrelo’s look at the new modern family and how they develop their remarkable bonds of love, from open adoption to same-sex parenting.

The study always revealed that 82% of people define a “mother” as the woman who raised them rather than as the woman who gave birth to them (which was at 53%).

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“Daddy, What’s a Sperm Donor?” This is the question I fear most

May 8, 2013 – BY MARK OPPENHEIMER, NewRepublic.com

Last week, on the day that Sports Illustrated posted NBA player Jason Collins’s essay announcing his homosexuality, I was walking with Rebekah, our six-year-old. We were going to pick up our car at the auto mechanic’s shop on the corner, when across the street I spotted a neighbor going in the other direction, strolling hand-in-hand with her two-year-old son. They waved to me, and I said hi, and then we walked on. “Who was that?” Rebekah asked.

I hesitated. I could have given a very simple answer: “That was Evelyn’s wife.” (Evelyn, as I’ll call her, is a woman Rebekah has met several times.) But I didn’t. I told her something else, something true but a little bit evasive, something like, “That was our neighbor Claire and her son—they live next door to the O’Malleys.”

 My three daughters all know that when they grow up, they can, if they so choose, marry women. They know this because they have schoolmates who have two moms; because my wife and I talk freely about our circle of friends, which includes gay men and lesbians; and because, when Rebekah comes home from school with first-grade talk of boyfriends, who “likes” whom, and whom she’ll marry someday—first grade is, it seems, junior high with training wheels—we occasionally mention that her future spouse could be a man or a woman. Even so, this moment on Jason Collins’s big day was not the first time that I found myself being slippery when a daughter had inquired about a lesbian mother, even in a context that had nothing to do with lesbianism.

Delaware Becomes the 11th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

By Eric Eckholm, May 7, 2013 – New York TImes

Delaware on Tuesday became the 11th state to permit same-sex marriage, the latest in a string of victories for those working to extend marital rights to gay and lesbian couples.

The marriage bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 12 to 9 Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s a great day in Delaware,” said Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, who signed it within minutes of passage before an overjoyed crowd of activists. “I am signing this bill now because I do not intend to make any of you wait one moment longer.”

Same-sex couples will be eligible for marriage licenses on July 1.

Adoption of same-sex marriage by Delaware came just five days after a similar decision in Rhode Island and followed ballot-box victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington.

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Iowa, USA: State Supreme Court Rules in Landmark Gay Adoption Case

The Iowa state Supreme Court ruled that the state must issue birth certificates to same-sex couples showing both spouses as parents. Lambda Legal reports:

In the decision, Justice Wiggins wrote, “By naming the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple’s child, the child is ensured support from that parent and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth. Therefore, the only explanation for not listing the nonbirthing lesbian spouse on the birth certificate is stereotype or prejudice.”

“The Court meant what it said in the Varnum decision: same-sex couples and their families must be treated equally under the law,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director in Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office based in Chicago. “Same-sex couples and their children do not get marriage-lite. Marriage is marriage and equal is equal. We take for granted that a husband is the father of a child born to his wife through reproductive technology – regardless of whether he is his child’s genetic parent. The same marital protection for both parents’ relationships to their child holds true for same-sex couples and their children.”

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Paul Ryan Reverses Course On Gay Adoption; Says He Regrets 1999 Vote

By    On Top Magazine Staff            Published:    May 01, 2013

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan on Monday reversed course on gay adoption, saying that he regrets a 1999 vote.

During a Wisconsin town hall, Ryan was asked to explain his long record of voting against gay rights.  Ryan rates a zero percent by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for not co-sponsoring any of the 11 gay rights-related bills currently before Congress, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

Ryan said he would undo a 1999 vote against adoption for gay and lesbian couples in the District of Columbia.

“Adoption, I’d vote differently these days. That was I think a vote I took in my first term, 1999 or 2000. I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple … I think if a person wants to love and raise a child they ought to be able to do that. Period. I would vote that way,” he said.

 

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Push to Include Gay Couples in Immigration Bill

April 30, 2013
New York Times

This has been a good year for gay rights advocates — with public opinion shifting in their favor and same-sex marriage advancing in the states — but not when it comes to immigration.

An 844-page bill introduced in the Senate in mid-April by a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers includes measures to make legal immigration easier for highly skilled immigrants, migrant farmworkers and those living here illegally. It has no provisions that would help foreigners who are same-sex partners of American citizens to become legal permanent residents.

Gay advocates were sharply disappointed to find that same-sex couples were excluded from the legislation, since the Democrats who wrote it included two of their most consistent champions, Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second highest-ranking Senate Democrat. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where the bill is under consideration, has offered, since as far back as 2003, a separate measure that would allow immigrants in long-term same-sex relationships to obtain residency with a green card.

But in the lengthy closed-door negotiations that produced the overhaul proposal, the four Republicans in the bipartisan group made it clear early on that they did not want to include such a hot-button issue in a bill that would be a challenge to sell to their party even without it, according to Senate staff members. The Republicans are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Many Republicans in both houses of Congress oppose any recognition of same-sex unions.

Now, with the immigration bill scheduled to advance next week toward a vote in the Judiciary Committee, Democrats are in a quandary about whether to offer an amendment that would give green cards to same-sex partners.

Republican sponsors of the overhaul warned on Tuesday that such an amendment would sink the entire measure.

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