Dana Rudolph

Last LGBT Parenting Roundup of the Year

Filed By Dana Rudolph | December 31, 2008 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: LGBT families, louisiana, parenting, Tennessee, utah

For those of you still out there and reading pre-holiday, here's a quick roundup of LGBT parenting news to hold you for a few days:

  • President Bush—yes, that's right—signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA), making it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee's death. This means same-sex couples, just like opposite-sex married couples, will automatically avoid tax penalties on those benefits. (My suspicion? Bush isn't bothering to read anything that crosses his desk these days. Still, we'll take it. This could have a significant impact on some couples' financial security.)
  • Could Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's appointment of ultra-conservatives to the state's Commission on Marriage and Family mean an attempt to ban adoption by same-sex couples in the state? Appointees include Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, clergy from conservative Christian denominations, and the law professor who wrote the state's "covenant marriage" law. I wonder how last week's U.S. District Court ruling that the Louisiana state registrar must honor the New York adoption of a baby boy by a same-sex couple will affect matters.
  • Utah State Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, (D-Salt Lake City), is trying to reverse the law that bans all unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Her proposal would still give married couples preference for adoption, but "would allow unmarried couples to be considered when the biological parent consents or if the child is in state custody." Seems like a weak measure to me, but maybe it's the only thing that has a chance (however small) of passage.
  • On a related note, NBC Los Angeles has a video on the possibility of even more states banning adoption by same-sex couples.
  • A lesbian mother of two in Tennessee is appealing a clause in her child custody agreement that prevents her partner of nine years from staying the night when Chandler's teenage children (from an opposite-sex marriage that ended ten years ago) are in the home. According to the Jackson Sun, the clause was added even though "a court-ordered psychological evaluation of all the parties noted the partner was a positive influence on the children."
  • A Spanish judge has been suspended after attempting to stop a lesbian from adopting her wife's child, an adoption that is perfectly legal. He had opined, "a homosexual environment threatened [the children's] education."
  • The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced that Lawyers USA has named NCLR Legal Director Shannon Price Minter as one of six 2008 lawyers of the year. Minter is also a parent, warranting his inclusion in this post.
  • CNN reports on the growing number of single men, gay and straight, turning to gestational surrogacy.

(Crossposted at Mombian.)


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beachcomberT | January 1, 2009 4:47 AM

Dana, thanks for relaying news about the retirement benefit tax issue in the WRERA package. Actually, the rollover provision was first passed back in 2006 to give non-spouse beneficiaries the same tax break that husband/wife legally married beneficiaries get. Because of sloppy drafting language, some companies treated the provision as just an optional arrangement, not mandatory. This new corrective provision makes it mandatory -- but not until 2010.
Essentially this allows you to inherit your partner's 401(k) and not have all the money taxed immediately. Instead, you can transfer it into an IRA and be taxed on smaller portions year by year, according to your life expectancy.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 1, 2009 4:50 PM

The is more a question of GLBT partnering rights than parenting, although it effects both.

But the question remains: Why did Bush do it?

Bush has of late worried about his ‘place in history’. So at the last minute he put this little fig leaf on his record of unrelenting anti-LGBT bigotry. Even though his superstition driven politics regarding same sex marriage are identical to Bill Clintons (and Obama’s) it possible he didn't want to be equated with an all-out bigot like Bill Clinton who gave us DADT, legalizing and codifying military bigotry, and who not only rammed DOMA through Congress but went on to boast about it in a play to increase his appeal to bigot voters in the bible belt.

History will have to sort out whether Clinton or Bush is the worst bigot. Whatever the final verdict, it’ll be a close race.

But now we have the latest entrant in the field of “Most Bigoted President”. Obama is already running neck and neck with the records of Bush and Clinton. Like Bush he endlessly panders to bigots. And like Clinton, Obama is busy hammering nails into the coffin of same sex marriage equality. With a little help from Warren, the mormon and the catholic cults and other rightists Obama wrecked our campaign to preserve marriage in California. It was all based on his backward superstitious ignorance. There is no other way to describe the phrase ‘god’s in the mix”

Virtually all religious cults are based on mindless anti-GLBT bigotry, whether it’s practiced by Obama, the pope, Clinton, Pat Robertson, Bush or the ayatollahs. That bigotry and that backward ignorance is already in the process of transforming the hope for progress of those who voted for him into rage at once again being tricked by another slick hustler from a party that produces them by the bushel.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced that Lawyers USA has named NCLR Legal Director Shannon Price Minter as one of six 2008 lawyers of the year.

A well-deserved honor, I must say.