A bill that would provide domestic partnership protections to committed couples throughout Florida has been filed in both chambers of the legislature. The Domestic Partnerships Act would grant individuals in a domestic partnership the same benefits and responsibilities currently available through marriage. The filing comes as more local municipalities (most recently Ft. Lauderdale) have adopted these vital workplace protections that are often the only means for gay couples to get health care benefits. Nearly 60% of Fortune 500 companies and a majority of Florida’s universities offer domestic partner benefits in order to attract and retain the best and brightest employees.
San Antonio, TX and its largest utilities – the city’s Water System and CPS Energy – may extend benefits to domestic partners of employees. Mayor Julián Castro said the benefits will help the city as a governmental entity and as a community. “For the city as an employer, it means we can be more competitive for great talent,” Castro said. “For the San Antonio community, it means there are no second-class citizens. We’re a cosmopolitan city and we value everyone in our community.” Providing the benefits will add San Antonio to a list of 185 cities, counties and states that provide domestic partner benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
[via San Antonio Express-News]
“Brief Summary of Substitute Bill: 2793 Amends the Uniform Parentage Act to:
(1) incorporate state-registered domestic partnerships and same-sex couples throughout its provisions;
(2)adopt changes made by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws; and
(3) make it gender-neutral.
Establishes standards for gestational surrogacy contracts and sets forth requirements that intended parents and the woman acting as a gestational surrogate must meet to have a valid gestational surrogacy contract.”
Thursday the18th was a very exciting day for me here in Washington State. I was asked to Testify in front of the State Senate regarding the bill HB 2793 Legalizing Gestational Surrogacy. Not only would HB 2793 legalize surrogacy but it also makes a strong positive statement to the Gay and Lesbian community regarding the Uniform Parentage Act.
My part in all this was small yet I did have an impact and a voice for Gestational Carriers in this state and others regarding our commitment to the Intended Parents we give birth for.I spoke with two of the HB 2793 bill supporters after, Senator Kessler and Representative Pedersen, who both stated that while reading in black and white about issues faced while living in a state that makes surrogacy illegal, hearing first hand about the impact and tolls it puts on Intended Parents and Gestational Carriers who must leave this state to realize their dream of building families through surrogacy made all the difference.
Most of you know that I moved to the Seattle area only three years ago. However, when I was a Gestational Carrier, I lived in NY where commercial surrogacy is also considered illegal. I used my own personal experiences to drive home the need to legalize surrogacy here in WA State. My Intended Parents were in Florida and I had to travel there several times for testing and transfers. During the pregnancy the IPs had to travel to NY to see me as well. A lot of money was spent on travel. When I was about 32 weeks I had a gallbladder issue that threw me into premature labor. Once stabilized I had to once again travel to FL because, God forbid, I could NOT give birth in NY. I was unexpectedly away from my own husband and children much longer then I intended after giving birth to twin girls at 34 weeks via an unplanned c-section. All told I was gone from my home for about two months.
I have a similar story of flying all over kingdom come for the same sex couple I ended up giving birth for in 2005 so that both of the Intended Fathers could be on the birth certificate. Now with the possibility of these new surrogacy and parentage actions in WA state it will be SO much easier for a surrogacy arrangement to happen between family, friends and, yes, strangers.
I now am looking toward Spring and early Summer in hopes that all the signatures required are collected and that the Governor signs it ASAP.
I would also like to acknowledge the two WA state Intended Mothers who also testified and who missed out on a lot of the joys of sharing a pregnancy with their out of state Gestational Carriers and the one Gestational Carrier who actually resided here in WA State and gave birth out of state for one couple and delivered in WA State for another Intended Parent for zero compensation. All the stories were heart wrenching yet joyous because they all ended up giving and getting what they wanted the most: the chance to build a family via surrogacy!