If you are a parent, I want you to imagine this scenario:
You come home from work one day and your children are gone. There is no sign of them anywhere. You call their cell phone and immediately hear it ringing in their bedroom. Panic sets in like a huge icy wave. You have no idea where they are, if they are safe, or if you will ever see them again.
Paralyzed by fear, you contact the police and beg them to help you find them. They tell you they can't help you. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. Think this is unrealistic? THINK AGAIN. This is exactly what can happen to you if you have children in a same-sex relationship and you are not the biological parent. The 'bio' parent can keep your children from you permanently -- LEGALLY. AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!
It doesn't matter if the reason your children were taken was because the other parent is angry with you. It doesn't matter if you have been in your children's life since birth. It doesn't matter if you are an exceptional parent. NONE OF THAT MATTERS. In the eyes of the law, you are not entitled to be in your children's lives if the 'bio' parent doesn't want you to be. PERIOD. You can get a lawyer and take the matter to court, but the outcome is determined by where you live and the judge you get. There are very few laws in place that protect the non-biological parents' relationships with their children. Our society is changing rapidly, but the laws have not. I say it's time to change these laws.
While most gay rights groups are focusing on equality in the area of marriage, our children are being overlooked. We need to have laws in place to maintain the relationships between these children and the non-biological parents in case of seperation/divorce. Currently, laws that protect the non-biological parent vary from state-to-state, or simply don't exist at all. There needs to be a universal law that defines the rights of BOTH PARENTS in these types of families to remain in the children's lives.
Let's change the laws to protect our kids so they can no longer be used as pawns to punish the other parent and send a message to these 'bio' parents that our children are not posessions, they are blessings, AND WE DESERVE TO SHARE OUR LIVES WITH OUR KIDS TOO!!
It is time to grant equal legal parental rights to the non-biological same-sex parent in regard to child custody, visitation, support, medical and educational decisions, inheritance rights and Social Security benefits, whenever the non-biological parent has;
A. Created a nurturing parental bond with the child(ren),
B. Acted in a manner that is consistent with the child(ren)’s best interest,
C. Been actively involved in the child(ren)’s life for a substantial amount of time,
D. Regards the child(ren) as being their own or having been known as the ‘other parent’ to the child(ren),
E. Participated in emotional, financial, moral and developmental support of the child(ren),
F. Been an active caretaker to the child(ren),
Regardless of whether legal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples are granted to same-sex couples, families with 2 Moms or 2 Dads have been around for many years now. We owe it to these children to protect their relationships with BOTH parents, especially when the relationship between the parents end due to separation and/or divorce.
As the current laws stand, the non-biological parent has very limited (or in some cases no) legal rights to be involved in these children’s lives, even if they have previously been more involved in the child(ren)’s life than the biological parent. Allowing this to continue can be devastating to both the non-biological parent and the child(ren). In a country that has common laws to cover possessions and effects of non-married heterosexual adults, it is time we focus on our children and enact laws that minimize the negative effects that having same-sex parents can have on these child(ren) which continues to set them apart from ‘traditional’ families.
About.com estimates there are between 6 to 14 million gay households with children. To continue to ignore the importance of BOTH parents in these families is to do a huge disservice to these children. Please change the laws so that the parental rights for ALL of our children are important.