Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

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We’re at an incredible moment in our history.

But as we continue to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court freedom to marry victory, marriage alone does not fully protect all LGBT families, especially parents and their children.

In nearly every state across the country, LGBT parents will continue to face obstacles in taking care of their children because state laws have not caught up to the needs of our diverse families. Many families are left vulnerable: parents can lose parental rights as they travel across state lines, may be unable to seek custody of their own children, or may not be afforded the same parental recognition as non-LGBT parents.

NCLR has launched the #Equality4Families campaign to raise awareness about the need to continue and deepen our work to reform state laws so that they fully protect parents’ rights to care for their children.

No child should ever lose a parent just because the law refuses to recognize them as a family. For as long as it takes we will be here, working to bring dignity and full recognition to LGBT parents and their children in every state.

PARENTING LAW: SOME FACTS

  • Didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court marriage decision automatically protect all families?
    Unfortunately not. The Supreme Court decision does a lot to protect LGBT families, but there are still many state laws that need to be updated before all LGBT parents—whether they are married or not – will be recognized by the law.
  • Why doesn’t gaining the freedom to marry protect LGBT parents?
    Getting married doesn’t necessarily make you a parent to your children under the law. For example, in most states, you have to be married when your children are born to get any parenting protections. Parents who married after their children were born usually have to adopt to protect their rights. Even parents who were married when their children were born may not be fully protected in every state if they are not biological parents. And unmarried non-biological parents remain unprotected in many states.
  • Why does every state have different laws about families and parenting?
    Every state is allowed to make its own family laws. This means that LGBT parents may be legally-recognized in one state, but not in another.

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