Friday Legal Updates: Marriage Equality – Let’s Talk About the Children

In the United States, we thrive on our individuality, our independence, our right to privacy, and our right to procreate. We even thrive on our state’s individual rights as a general premise, even though under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, states are generally required to recognize and honor the public laws of other states.

And, that is where marriage equality comes in. While states have traditionally recognized marriages entered into legally in other states (even those that go against the marriage laws of that particular state), states by and large are not been will to do so in regards to same-sex marriage.

Now, we can go on for days on why marriage equality should or should not be permitted, including the issues surrounding Proposition 8 in California, but what is not being discussed are the children of these LGBT families. What about these children, you ask? First, let’s cut out all the religious, political and other hot button issues and stand directly into the reality that so many face:

*What happens if one of my parents dies?
*What happens if my parents separate or divorce?
*What happens to me?
*Why can’t both of my parents receive the same rights and responsibilities for us as so many other children have?

Well, for the children of LGBT couples, things are not so cut and dry – not that divorce is easy for any child, but why should these children have additional hurdles that are not faced by the children of heterosexual couples or unions? Why should they bear the burden of our stereotypes, our issues, our religious views, our hang ups? Why can’t we make the discussion about advocating for the children?

So, let’s get straight to the points as to why this issue is even important from a legal perspective:

* What about social security survivor benefits from my parent who has died but who is not legally considered my “parent?”
*What about my insurance benefits?
*What about my medical and education issues?
* What if my “non-recognized” parent is the stay-at-home parent and there is a medical emergency?
*Who can register me for school?
*What about my rights to my parent’s estate when my “non-recognized” parent dies?
* What about straight forward acknowledgement under the law that these two people (whether gay or straight) are my parents?

Let’s talk change, and let’s talk about the children. The desire to have a family, including children, is not going to just go away for those of you who do not agree with marriage equality – period. So, with that, let’s advocate for the children and make them realize how great America really is.

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