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Protecting Families: Standards for LGBT Families1

We are incredibly proud of our community’s successes in creating families with children and doing the loving, joyful and challenging work of parenting. Bringing children into a family is a transformative experience and integrates us into the larger community. However, our children are vulnerable to being separated from their parents because the law does not always fully recognize our families.

There are steps you can—and should—take to protect your child’s relationship with his or her parents to prevent that devastation:

  • DO obtain legal recognition of your parent-child relationships and make it a top priority! Being busy is not an excuse.
  • DO work together to come to an agreement if your relationship ends, especially when you have children. Do not begin by fighting in court. Litigation can bankrupt you, deprive your child of one of his or her parents, and make law that will hurt others for years to come.

There is so much at stake for your children, for you, and for our larger community—PLEASE read on and consider this message.

1 In 1999, a concerned group of activists, lawyers, mediators, social workers and mothers (Jenifer Firestone, Silvia Glick, Arline Isaacson, Joyce Kauffman, Sandra Lundy, Maureen Monks, and Diane Neumann) came together at the offices of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston to serve as a sounding board and editor to the author of the original document, Attorney Mary L. Bonauto of GLAD. See GLAD, Protecting Families: Standards for Child Custody in Same-Sex Relationships, 10 UCLA Women’s L. J. 151 (1999). This most recent revision has been a collaborative effort among three groups: GLAD, NCLR, and NCLR’s National Family Law Advisory Council.