Parents and children deserve to be protected under the law, regardless of what the family looks like.
Two talented attorneys shared their experience with the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act (UPA 2017) and how the inclusive changes are life-changing to parents and children in the LGBTQ community in a recent NCSEA podcast.
- Diane Potts, Vice President of Child Support and Workforce Services at Public Knowledge®
- Patience (Polly) Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney with the GLAD’s LGBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders
Why Changes Were Necessary
After the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, the Uniform Law Commission came to the apparent conclusion that the Uniform Parentage Act needed fundamental changes needed to be made to comply with constitutional law, according to Diane.
Diane was a part of the group responsible for making these changes to the legislation. According to Diane, these decision-makers were critical of all components involved, protecting children, children having the support of both parents, and protecting the integrity of the child support programs.
Most importantly, it was essential to ensure LGTBQ parents had the same protection under the law.
“I’ve felt passionate about equity for LGTBQ parents for all of my career. In 2014, we assembled a plenary dedicated to lesbian parents. They shared with NCSEA the struggles they went through because there weren’t laws sufficient to protect the non-biological parent that was very much functionating as a parent through the inception to the time the relationship broke up. Those heartbreaking stories of how the laws failed those children and those families when the relationship ultimately broke down,”Diane Potts, Vice President of Child Support and Workforce Services at Public Knowledge®
There’s More Than One Way to Become a Parent
A societal barrier the LGBTQ community must overcome is the lack of understanding of the diverse ways families can come to fruition, according to Polly. Under UPA 2017, parents don’t have to worry about losing connection with their children because they are not genetically related.
This legislation includes:
- Assisted reproduction
- Donor insemination
- Surrogacy (gestational and genetics)
- Marital and Non-Marital Presumption
- De-Facto parentage
- Parentage through genetic connection
“That was another piece of UPA 2017 that I personally am very proud of that we got a de-facto parentage option for those parents that, with the blessing of the other parent, take substantial steps to become a parent to a child in all the senses. If they do that for enough time in a substantial enough way, that relationship is going to be protected, and they’re not going to be cut out of the child’s life if the relationship with the birth parent should break down,”Diane Potts, Vice President of Child Support and Workforce Services at Public Knowledge®
In order to drive change, the ultimate idea is to be proactive by taking action through advocacy. Advocating for revisions in legislation, whether that’s the formation of new policies and regulations, or even the removal or reduction, policy-makers hearing the right voices are essential. As a result, Diane and Polly were able to be a part of a dialogue that derived an inclusive solution, which is vital to societal advancement.
Listen to the Episode to Learn More
Learn more about what Diane and Polly have to say about UPA 2017 and what the future holds for LGBTQ families for establishing parentage by listening to the podcast.