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Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families: A State Strategy and Policy Guide

July 17, 2012

A new report spotlights how discriminatory state laws across the country negatively impact LGBT families, and offers some solutions to the problem.

Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families: A State Strategy and Policy Guide details the concrete harms of archaic and discriminatory family law — harms that affect an estimated 2 million children raised by LGBT parents, children awaiting adoption and, often, the millions of children being raised by relatives, family friends, or unmarried parents. Findings include:

Laws deny children loving families. When LGBT families are banned from being foster parents or adopting, children are denied permanent homes and remain in state care instead.

Laws put children’s health at risk. When the law prevents a parent from securing legal ties to his or her child, that child is also denied coverage under the parent’s health insurance, and the parent can be prevented from making medical decisions or visiting their child in the hospital.

Laws undermine children’s security and place children in jeopardy when a parent dies or when parents’ relationships dissolve. When a parent raising a child is not recognized under the law, that child can be wrested away from the parent best suited to care for them, be denied child support, or lose inheritance and other protections designed to keep them safe during times of crisis.

Securing Legal Ties for Children Living in LGBT Families: A State Strategy and Policy Guide also provides a framework for state policymakers to draft, pass and enact new laws that protect children living in LGBT families and other contemporary family structures. It also includes recommendations for amending, repealing or overturning discriminatory laws that leave children without the security of legal ties to their parents.

The report is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and the Center for American Progress in partnership with Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and the Equality Federation.

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