Same-Sex Parenting: Gay Couples Still Struggle In Their Legal Standing As Parents

By Samantha Finch, Parent Herald June 03, 04:52 am

Same-sex couples' legal standing as parents is still muddled. At the moment, only heterosexual couples can be defined as parents in accordance with the law. The government of Ontario, Canada, however, is working on measures to change that.

Legislation is posed to be introduced this fall allowing birth registration services to all families regardless of the parents' genders. MPP Cheri Di Novo said restricting the description of parenting to one man and one woman is a form of discrimination. Heterosexual parents also aren't required to prove their child is their own, which is the opposite of what same-sex parents experience, CBC News reported.

For gay and lesbian couples, there's a huge chance that a surviving parent wouldn't get custody of his/her own child if the other parent dies. In Ontario's law, a sperm donor's right over a child is honored more than the non-birth mother's.

Same-sex couples also face missing out on employment insurance because of their unequal legal standing. Some resort to adoption process, while others go to court to declare parentage. Both processes are tedious methods that require lawyers, plenty of money and red tape.

Florida Making Progress In Marriage Equality

In Florida, married same-sex couples who gave birth to a baby can now be listed as mother and father on the birth certificate, according to a report from Equality Florida. The amended law for birth certificates also covers same-sex couples who already had a child during their marriage.

This latest development comes 16 months after Florida legalized marriage equality, WEAR TV took note. It also comes 10 months after the Department of Health was sued by three couples and Equality Florida, who demanded a precise and detailed birth certificate that includes the names of both same-sex parents.


Those who oppose the expansion of parental rights for same-sex couples argued that it would only present complications. Without biology and the declaration of adoption, they said all people who contributed to a child's rearing -- such as friends and nannies -- could claim parental rights over a kid. According to the opponents, those scenarios would only lead to troubled custody battles that could harm a child in many ways, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A 2013 research found that 15 percent of unmarried and same-sex couples are raising children. The states of Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey and Texas have already proposed methods to widen parental rights. But Florida, Utah and New York are still falling behind and are only relying on formal adoption for the rights of non-birth parents.

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