Thanksgiving is the time of year that we celebrate our families. Not one family is alike – they come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. No matter what they look like, love is what ties them together. These strong, secure, and loving families are the bedrock of our society.
Unfortunately, gay and lesbian families in Virginia have a lot less for which to be thankful. Current law in the commonwealth denies lesbian and gay parents the basic rights of parenthood. Although these couples are raising a family together, usually only one parent has the legal rights and responsibilities associated with parenthood. This hurts not only the parents, but also leaves their children – who deserve two loving and legal parents – vulnerable. It’s simple: gay and lesbian families are being discriminated against and it must stop. There is a solution, and it’s called second-parent adoption. As part of National Adoption Month, Equality Virginia is raising awareness about second-parent adoption. This type of adoption would allow both parents to be the legal guardian of their children and would allow for both parents to:
- Make key decisions regarding the health, wellbeing, and education of their child
- Provide benefits including health and life insurance to their child
- Retain legal custody of their child if the other parent died
- Be held financially responsible for the child in the event of a divorce or break-up
In other words, second-parent adoption allows parents the rights and responsibilities that most of us have taken for granted since becoming parents. Second-parent adoption makes sense. It makes sense for the wellbeing of our children and our communities and has already been approved in 21 states and the District of Columbia. In Virginia, however, it is not yet legal for these loving parents to come full circle and become the legal guardians of the children they are raising. Equality Virginia is working to change hearts and minds across the state. We need your help to do it.
Are you a parent who has faced this type of discrimination as you raise your family? If so, please take our second-parent adoption survey.
Tell us your story: It is the most powerful tool to create change. Real couples with real stories will convince Virginia that all families deserve equal protection under the law.
This season, we are especially thankful for all the loving families living throughout the commonwealth. Together, we will gain equality and work to ensure that all parents in Virginia have the legal ability to protect and care for their children. Be the first to know about second-parent adoption and other issues facing the LGBT community – sign up for our newsletter and action alerts!
We are also thankful for your ongoing support and involvement in the process of making change happen. Please consider making a $20 donation to allow us to continue this important work.