Changes to State Parenting Laws Help Fill Gaps for Same-Sex Couples

The United States is a patchwork quilt when it comes to the legal definition of “parent," which is largely determined by state law


While many same-sex parents across the country have encountered hurdles, changes are being made at the state level to address these legal gaps. Last week, Rhode Island and New Hampshire updated their parentage laws, NBC News reports.

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act, legislation that allows same-sex and unmarried couples to establish parentage by signing a voluntary acknowledgement of parentage form and updates state law to accommodate children born using assisted reproduction and surrogacy.

“Now, nobody will have to live with the uncertainty of not knowing whether their kid will have two parents at birth,” Watson said.

In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu signed HB 1162, a law that similarly allows unmarried couples — both straight and gay — to adopt children, extends second-parent adoption to same-sex parents and mandates that a court judgment of parentage can be used to secure the parental relationships of children born through assisted reproduction.

While parentage laws have become more inclusive in these two states, LGBTQ people across the country confront a complex legal landscape when it comes to parenting, which can vary from state to state, and can call their parental rights into question.

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