Protecting Kids and Families in North Carolina

By James Esseks, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project June 13, 2012

We’ve just filed a new federal case in North Carolina to ensure that kids being raised by lesbian or gay parents can have legally protected relationships with both of the parents who are raising them. North Carolina bans second parent adoption – which is the name for that kind of protection – and the stories of two of our plaintiff families illustrate just how harmful the ban is.

Crystal Hendrix and Leigh Smith are raising two children together, 2-year-old Quinn and Joe, their baby. Crystal carried each of them and of course is recognized as their mother. But Leigh, the stay-at-home mom, can’t become a legal parent because of the ban on second parent adoption. Crystal’s parents have never accepted the women’s relationship, so both Crystal and Leigh have a real concern about what would happen if Crystal were to die or become legally incapacitated, with Leigh remaining a legal stranger to the kids.

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Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown

Attorney and Advocate at Time For Families
Who am I? On the deepest level, I am blessed. I have an amazing partner, who I have known since 1989 and been married to since 2004. I am the donor dad of two beautiful daughters who have two moms who are equally amazing. My husband and I have expanded our family through surrogacy and have a seven-year old son. I have had three careers (acting, massage therapy and the law) and I am still discovering myself. I am the Board Chair of Men Having Babies. The one thing I know for sure is that life is about trusting your instincts. Family is an instinct.
Anthony Brown