National Center for Lesbian Rights

Multi ethnic friends with kid


Although we have made great strides in protecting the rights of LGBTQ people and their families, LGBTQ parents continue to face significant discrimination. Transgender parents in particular still lose custody of their children at alarming rates simply because of their gender.

Through legislation and impact litigation, NCLR works to ensure that LGBTQ parents and their children are fully recognized as families under the law, including low-income parents using low-cost assisted reproduction, both married and unmarried parents, families with more than two parents, adoptive parents, and parents conceiving using surrogacy. At the same time, we advocate for greater protections for the health and rights of people acting as surrogates and egg donors.

We also represent LGBTQ parents facing discrimination based solely on their gender or sexual orientation, and our Transgender Youth Project works to protect transgender and gender nonconforming children whose parents do not agree to affirm their identities.


Legislation & Policy

Uniform Parentage Act of 2017


The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) is a uniform law that states may enact. There have been several versions of the UPA, but until 2017, it used gendered language and did not address same-sex parents directly. The UPA of 2017 fully protects both married and unmarried same-sex couples, and includes many important provisions protecting LGBTQ parents, including provisions addressing children with multiple parents, parents using at-home insemination, surrogacy, and comprehensive assisted reproduction protections. It also provides protections for low-income parents, including protections for parents using at-home insemination, and access to a free system to establish parental rights available at every hospital in states that adopt the UPA.

NCLR participated in the drafting committee for the UPA of 2017 as an Observer, advocating for full protections for LGBTQ parents, including low-income parents.

As of January 2020 the UPA of 2017 has been enacted in California, Vermont, and Washington, and legislation is pending in Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania.


Cases & Advocacy

Turner v. Steiner (Oakley)


Heather Turner and Liza Oakley were a married same-sex couple who had a child using assisted reproduction. Heather gave birth to the child and both parents were listed on the birth certificate. Heather and Liza raised the baby together, with Liza staying as the primary caregiver until they broke up the following year. In their divorce, Heather argued that Liza was not a parent.



Press Release

NCLR Applauds Passage of Historic New York Law Modernizing Surrogacy and Assisted Reproduction Protections

April 2, 2020. National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds the New York Legislature for passing the 2021 state budget bill, which includes historic language modernizing the state’s surrogacy and assisted reproduction laws and making it easier for LGBTQ individuals to build loving families. NY law currently prohibits surrogacy, and its assisted reproduction laws are out-of-date, excluding many low-income families and unmarried parents from its protections, particularly LGBTQ families.



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