Target: Iowa State Legislature
Goal: Ensure both members of same-sex couples may become legal parents of their children
The Iowa Supreme Court recently took a bold step forward for the rights of same-sex parents in the state, ruling that both members of a lesbian couple may be listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate. Previously, lesbian couples seeking to have a child were forced to list the baby’s biological father as one parent, even if the father was not present in the child’s household. The biological mother’s spouse would have to undergo the lengthy (and expensive) process of adoption in order to be counted as a legal parent of the child. Now, thanks to the removal of gender-specific language from Iowa law, both mothers in a same-sex marriage may be legal parents to their children. Urge Iowa to continue removing discriminatory gendered language from its laws.
While this ruling will certainly help protect the rights of many same-sex couples, more must be done to ensure all couples can easily and fairly become the legal parents of their children. Unlike states like Washington, Iowa did not remove gender-specific language from many of its laws when it legalized gay marriage in 2009. As it stands, many laws in the state prohibit the seamless transition to parenthood for same-sex couples. Men in same-sex couples, for example, must still go through the adoption process if they wish to have a child through a surrogate mother, even if that child’s biological mother will not be a part of his or her household.
Gendered custody laws fail to address the diversity of marriages and families in Iowa. Urge the state to continue moving forward in its quest for equality and abolish gendered language from its laws.
Dear Iowa State Legislature,
Recently, the Supreme Court of Iowa ruled that women in same-sex marriages could both legally be parents to their children. This ruling is a wonderful step forward for Iowa’s lesbian couples. However, it does not go far enough to ensure legal parenthood for all non-traditional families.
Due to gendered language in Iowa law, gay men must still go through the costly, lengthy process of adoption to become legal parents to their children. This unfair legal situation was avoided in states like Washington, where lawmakers removed gendered terms to ensure the transition from marriage to parenthood was as seamless for same-sex couples as it has traditionally been for heterosexual couples.
All of America’s families deserve equal rights and protections under the law. I urge you to move forward in adjusting Iowa law to reflect the needs of all married couples.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Caitlin Childs via Flickr