27 Jul 2009 Advancement for Same Sex Parental Rights in the District of Columbia
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Law Extends Parental Rights for Gays
Lesbians in the District no longer will need the written consent of their partners to adopt children born to their partners through artificial insemination, under a new law that took effect Saturday.
The name of a consenting spouse or unmarried partner will appear on the child's birth certificate as the legal parent, a status that previously had to be obtained by same-sex parents through a complicated adoption process.
The Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination Parentage Act of 2009 puts the city out front when it comes to children born of same-sex parents, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) and American University law professor Nancy Polikoff. "With the enactment of this measure, the District has become the first jurisdiction in the country to enact a statute specifically providing children born through artificial insemination with two legal parents from the beginning even when those parents are a same-sex or different-sex unmarried couple. A similar law goes into effect January 1, 2010, in New Mexico," according to a news release the groups issued today.
"A mother should not have to adopt her own child," said Polikoff, who helped draft the legislation that was shepherded by D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). "When a heterosexual married couple uses artificial insemination to have a child, the husband does not have to adopt the child born to his wife. He is the child's legal parent automatically. Now the child of a lesbian couple will have the same economic and emotional security accorded the children of heterosexual married couples who use artificial insemination."
The enactment of the law follows a new law that recognizes same-sex couples married elsewhere as legally married in the District. The D.C. Council is expected to legalize gay marriage in the city later this year after legislation is introduced.