Living in a Post-DOMA World, June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court victory on June 26, 2013  in United States v. Windsor striking down the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) affirms that all loving and committed couples who are married deserve equal legal respect and treatment from the federal government. The demise of DOMA marks a turning point in how the United States government treats the relationships of married same-sex couples for federal programs that are linked to being married. At the same time, a turning point is part of a longer journey, not the end of the road. There is much work ahead before same-sex couples living across the nation can enjoy all the same protections as their different-sex counterparts.

LGBT organizations have developed fact sheets on what the decision means for you.

Click here to read the fact sheets., June 20, 2013

Exodus International, a large Christian ministry that claimed to offer a “cure” for homosexuality, plans to shut down.

In a press release posted on the ministry’s website Wednesday night, the board of directors announced the decision to close after nearly four decades.

“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change — and they want to be heard,” Exodus board member Tony Moore said.

The closure comes less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for years of undue judgment, by the organization and from the Christian Church as a whole.

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical,” said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus.

Click here to read the entire article.

Duma bars Russian children from adoption by foreign same sex couples – June 18, 2013

Russia’s Lower House has passed an amendment that bans the adoption of Russian children by same sex couples from abroad.

The amendment was passed on Tuesday as the State Duma approved  the second reading of the bill to protect orphans.

The amendment also forbids single people who are citizens or  permanent residents of countries that allow same sex marriage to  become adoptive parents or legal guardians of Russian children.

Russia itself does not allow same sex marriage and the country’s  authorities have passed a number of regional and federal bills  banning the promotion of gay and other “non-traditional” sex to  minors – a move considered as discriminative by a large part of  society.

Another related move was the adoption in late 2012 of the so  called ‘Dima Yakovlev Law‘ – an extensive act that  forbids, among other things, the adoption of Russian children by  US citizens or by proxy of US organizations. Russia said it was  prompted by a number of cases where US authorities refused or  failed to cooperate in the investigation of cruelty or even death  of adopted Russian children by their US adoptive parents.

Click here to read the entire article.

Study: Kids of Same-Sex Parents Happier, Healthier Than Average

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor –
Thursday Jun 6, 2013

A new study found that children of same-sex parents are doing equally well, and in some areas, better than kids from heteronormative families. The results come from what is apparently the world’s largest study on the issue, the Australian newspaper the Age reports.

Researches from Melbourne University in Australia collected data on 500 children, up to the age of 17, across the country. Based on a number of key health and well-being indictors the study, called the “Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families,” found that children who are being raised by same-sex parents matched pretty equally when it came to self-esteem, emotional well-being and the amount of time they spent with parents.

When it came to overall health and family cohesion, however, the children of same-sex parents scored higher than the national average.

’’Because of the situation that same-sex families find themselves in, they are generally more willing to communicate and approach the issues that any child may face at school, like teasing or bullying,’’ lead researcher Dr. Simon Crouch said. ’’This fosters openness and means children tend to be more resilient. That would be our hypothesis.’’

LGBT couples are allowed to jointly adopt children in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Western Australia. In all states, except for South Australia, LGBT people are allowed to adopt individually. Regions, including Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, Northern Territory and South Australia, do not allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Click here to read the entire article.

Louisiana House gives final approval to surrogate parenting bill that would bar unmarried, gay couples

By Lauren McGaughy, The Times-Picayune

June 03, 2013

Unmarried and gay couples in Louisiana will be blocked from becoming surrogate parents if Gov. Bobby Jindal signs a bill approved by the House on Sunday. The bill would set up surrogacy contract rules in the state as well as define who is eligible to enter into such contracts.

The final version of Senate Bill 162 defines “intended parents” as “married persons,” thus barring unmarried partners and same-sex couples from becoming parents through surrogacy. However, much of the opposition to the heavily amended bill came from religious and conservative groups who consider all surrogacy “anti-life.”

Louisiana law currently states any surrogate contract in the state is “unenforceable” and absolutely null and void, which proponents of the bill says has led to problems surrounding the legal rights of surrogate mothers, their spouses and the intended parents.

Click here to read the entire article.

I Get to Define My Own Family June 3, 2013 – By Amelia

When my oldest son was in kindergarten, he learned that not all families are like his. My husband and I have lived with our best friend, Katie, for the past 13 years. To our three boys, she is their Kiki: part third parent, part favorite aunt and by far their preferred reader of bedtime stories. One day, when I picked my son up from kindergarten, he looked positively glum.

“What’s wrong, baby?” I asked.

“Mom,” he said in his solemnest voice, “not everyone has a Kiki.”

I swallowed my laughter as only a parent can. “No, honey, not everyone has a Kiki. You’re a very lucky boy.”

“But Mom, it’s so sad!”

My son can’t imagine his life without his Kiki. To him, that was how a family is supposed to be set up: a mom, a dad and a Kiki. It’s not exactly the most conventional setup, but it was all he knew.

But my son’s questions didn’t stop there. He wanted to know exactly how everyone in our lives is connected to each other. It was important to him, and we gave him all the answers he wanted. The myriad of people he calls “aunt” and “uncle” are not actually his mom’s and dad’s brothers and sisters, but his Uncle Harold is in fact Mom’s brother.

He would often go through the family, declaring all the connections. One day, on another drive home from school, he was going through his grandparents.

“Grandma and Grandpa are Daddy’s mommy and daddy,” he said. “Papa is your daddy, and Sophie is Papa’s girlfriend.”

We had gone through all of this before, once leading to an interesting conversation about why Papa doesn’t have a wife or a husband. But this time, things went into a different direction.

“And you don’t have a mommy,” he told me.

I was shocked and glad that we were at a red light. My mother has been absent for most of my adulthood. The reasons for this are complicated and not worth going into, but if my mother were to walk into the room, none of my sons would have any idea who she is. And although I am used to this fact and accept it, actually hearing the words “you don’t have a mommy” threw me for a loop. In my son’s eyes, I had no mother. And what stopped me in my tracks was the fact that, for all intents and purposes, he was correct. I had never had a relationship with the woman who bore me that could be described as maternal. This truth had me so thrown that I couldn’t think of a response. My son didn’t need one and went on.

“Why isn’t Sophie your mommy?”

“We’ll, baby,” I started, gathering my thoughts, “I didn’t grow in her belly like you grew in mine.”

“But that doesn’t matter,” he insisted. We have friends who have adopted their children, so he knew that pregnancy isn’t compulsory for motherhood.

“Um, Sophie wasn’t there when I was growing up the way your mommy and daddy are for you,” I explained. This seemed to satisfy him, and he went on to another topic. My brain did not move along so easily.

My father and brother and my husband’s parents and sister don’t live in our city. They aren’t our go-to people for the daily support that keeps a family going. For that, we have a Kiki and those unofficial aunts and uncles, people we have been lucky enough to collect throughout the years, people who are not compelled to be in our lives by an accident of birth but choose to be there. They are our chosen family. Many of those people are LGBT, but they aren’t our chosen family because they are LGBT or in spite of it; they are our chosen family because they are good people, the kind of men and women who set good examples for our kids, the kind of people we want them to grow up to be.

Click here to read the entire article.