Iowa Dept. of Public Health must do better – July 26, 2013

Only a month ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, granting gay and lesbian married couples more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections previously denied to them. Some people thought we were done. The struggle was over. Our families, at least in Iowa, had equal standing under the law.

Except that there is still so much work to be done. Imagine, for example, how surprised and heartbroken Joanne Abbas and Lindsey Clark were when they received their baby Thea’s birth certificate. It listed only one of the mothers as a parent. When Thea was born, these women correctly filled out the necessary paperwork and, with help from the hospital staff, both women listed their names as parents on the birth worksheet. And still, when they received the birth certificate, Lindsey’s name was missing from this important document.

Despite a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court in the case Gartner v. Newton, the Iowa Department of Public Health is still refusing to immediately issue accurate birth certificates for all children born to married lesbian parents like Joanne and Lindsey. The Gartner case was decided unanimously in May of this year by the Iowa Supreme Court as part of a Lambda Legal lawsuit challenging the Iowa Department of Public Health’s refusal to issue an accurate birth certificate to MacKenzie, daughter of married same-sex couple Heather and Melissa Gartner. Iowa’s highest court ruled in favor of the Gartners, stating that the department would have to change its practice of refusing to issue accurate birth certificates listing both mothers.

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First Person / Our modern family

July 13, 2013 – By Ellen V. Garbuny – Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Today at the gym, I was walking the track with a friend, sharing family  updates. I told her my son, in graduate school, is leaving soon for a summer  internship in West Africa. It is his first time traveling so far overseas, and  his trip is exciting and a little nerve-racking.

Instead of asking about the specifics of his internship, she asked, “But will  he see his son before he leaves?”

A simple question to me, a grandmother of a delightful 19-month-old boy, and  yet, it’s complicated.

Had she asked questions about his graduate program or internship, the answers  would be fairly straightforward. The question of “his son” is not, as he does  not consider our grandchild to be his son.

You see, my son is a sperm donor for a child who is being raised by two  loving mothers, one of whom has been a close family friend for more than a  decade. Deciding to be a donor, to give the gift of genetic material with which  to make a new life, is not a decision to make easily or lightly. Becoming a  donor meant pioneering a new understanding of family — for my son, the women  and everyone related to the three of them.


New Study Confirms Same-Sex Couples Make Great Parents

By Zack Ford  on Jul 10, 2013,

A new study has once again confirmed that same-sex couples are just as effective at raising children as opposite-sex couples. Focusing specifically on children adopted at an early age, the study compared gay and lesbian couples to straight couples who were all becoming parents for the first time. Though there were differences in the children’s psychological adjustment, they were not affected by their family type.

What the study actually found is that when parents adopt, how prepared parents were and how depressed parents were impacted their children:

  • Parents’ level of preparation for the adoption was related to both externalizing and internalizing symptoms, such that parents who were less prepared reported more symptoms in their children.
  • Parents’ depressive symptoms were also related to externalizing and internalizing symptoms in adopted children, such that more depressed parents reported more symptoms in their children. Depressive symptoms may compromise parents’ emotional availability and ability to parent effectively, which can contribute to child adjustment problems.

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Lesbian Moms Again in Forefront of New Marriage Cases

At – July 11, 2013

The past couple of weeks have seen a  new round of progress in several marriage-equality lawsuits—and just as with the cases that brought down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 (as I wrote a few weeks ago), lesbian moms are again in the forefront, along with a number of gay dads. Two of the cases (in Michigan and North Carolina) even began as challenges to state bans on second-parent adoptions, and later evolved into marriage-ban challenges as well.

Let’s take things alphabetically:

  • In Illinois, Lambda Legal and the ACLU have asked for speedy summary judgment in two marriage-equality cases. More than half the the plaintiff couples in Lambda Legal’s Darby v. Orr lawsuit are parents, including moms LaKeesha Harris and Janean Watkins, Michelle Chappell and Michelle Franke, Theresa Volpe and Mercedes Santos, Angelica Lopez and Claudia Mercado, Daphne Scott-Henderson and Ryan Cannon, Patricia Garcia and Julie Barton, and Anne Dickey and Laura Hartman, as well as dads Daryl Rizzo and Jaime Garcia, Robert Hickok and Brian Fletcher, and Brandon and Kevin Bowersox-Johnson.
  • In the ACLU’s Illinois Lazaro v. Orr lawsuit, again more than half the the plaintiff couples are parents, including moms Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth “Liz” Matos, Lynn Sprout and Kathie Spegal, Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine, and Kirsten and Tanya Lyonsford, as well as dads Carlos Briones and Richard Rykhus.

– See more at:

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