Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Change the World

Which Companies Made the "Nice" List This Year for LGBTQ Family Leave Policies?

Apple and Home Depot made the "Nice" list. McDonalds and Walgreens, though, have been naughty.

PL+US, an organization dedicated to bringing about high-quality paid family leave for everyone in the United States, recently released its 2018 report card of companies in the United States. And it looks like quite a few new organizations have been particularly good this year,

As the report notes: "the private sector has reached a tipping point on paid family leave. In 2018 alone, 20 companies introduced new paid leave policies. A whopping 72% of surveyed companies provide paid leave equally to moms, dads, and adoptive parents and more than half are equal for all employees, whether salaried, hourly, or part-time."

Just two years ago, when PL+US first conducted an analysis of the country's largest employers, most companies refused to disclose details on their family leave policies. Those that did often excluded benefits for LGBTQ people, adoptive parents, and low-wage workers.

In just two short years, PL+US has worked with advocates and workers all across the country to help change the policies of 30 of the country's top employers.

Employers with the most high-quality leave policies include: Apple, Verizon, the Home Depot and H&M.; The naughty list includes employers such as McDonalds, Albertsons and Walgreens.

Check out the full report card here.

Change the World

Gay Dad Jared Polis Maintains Edge in Colorado Race for Governor

Despite a barrage of attack ads from an outside group, Jared Polis, openly gay candidate for CO Governor, maintains his lead over his Republican challenger.

Two new polls released last week show Democrat Jared Polis maintaining his lead in the Colorado governor over his Republican challenger, Walker Stapleton. If elected, Jared Polis will be the first gay man, let alone gay parent, to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)

Though polls have tightened the closer to election day we get, one poll, released by a Democratic consortium last week, found Polis still maintains with a 7 percentage point lead. Another, conducted by a Republican polling firm, found Polis with a smaller lead of 5 percentage points.

Notably, Polis maintains a double-digit lead among women and younger voters, whose participation in tomorrow's election may ultimately determine his fate.

Polis has maintained his lead despite a barrage of attack ads posted by Republican-affiliated groups in the past few weeks. One of these ads accused Polis physically pushing his former female personal assistant. Outside media groups have called the ad misleading.

Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008 and serves as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.

Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.

Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contended as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.

Change the World

Australian Politician Gives Impassioned Defense of Gay Men's Access to Altruistic Surrogacy

A new bill passed by the Western Australian Legislative Assembly aims to make it legal for gay men and couples to use "altruistic" surrogacy to start their families.

This month, the Western Australian Legislative Assembly passed a bill to allow single men and gay couples to access "altruistic surrogacy" to start their families. Previously, only single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples were allowed to pursue surrogacy arrangements. (Read more about different types of surrogacy arrangements.)

The legislation passed after a long and at times heated debate, during which John Carey, one of three out gay members of the parliament, made an impassioned defense of gay men's ability to access altruistic surrogacy as a means to start their families.

"I came into politics to believe in the best of people, to appeal to the best our our humanity, to show greater kindness, to understand that despite our differences there is much that brings us together," Carey said at the beginning of the debate, according to Out in Perth, which reported on the proceedings. "This is why I proudly stand here today as a member of parliament, and to support progressive change, to support that humanity in our community.

Carey stressed that children being raised by LGBTQ people, "are loved. They are respected. They are supported in their aspirations and their dreams. They go to school, they visit school, they to to playgroups and they mix with they peers, and they are all raised by same-sex parents, and many of them male couples."

Allowing gay men to access altruistic surrogacy was a substantive win for the local LGBTQ community, which also recently saw gay marriage legalized. But it is also, as Carey noted in his speech, a symbolic one. "Every bit of reform which tackles discrimination, which removes those barriers is critically important," he said. "It's not just for those same-sex couples who want to have a child, but also for all those young generations who will see another part of discrimination dismantled from our legislation."

Read Carey's full defense of the bill, which will next be read and debated in the Legislative Council, here.

Change the World

Gay Dad Opens Up About His Experiences With Conversion Therapy

The California-based gay dad was one of 8 people to be interviewed about his experiences with the disproven practice of conversion therapy for The Cut.

Conversion therapy, the disproven practice of attempting to change an individual's sexual orientation through psychological interventions, has been in the news a lot lately. This past May, Maryland became the 11th state to completely ban the damaging therapy for minors. Some states are even considering bills to further prohibit the practice for adults.

Hollywood is paying attention to the trend, with two major movies, Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, to be released before the end of the year.

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Change the World

Federal Judge Rules Against Adoption Agency's Attempt to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Many challenges to LGBTQ adoption continue to exist, however, including a Federal amendment that would grant tax-funded adoption agencies the right to discriminate nationally.

This week brought us some much-needed good news in the fight to protect LGBTQ adoption rights: U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker ruled that Catholic Services Society (CSS) violated the city of Philadelphia's Fair Practice Ordinance due to the organization's refusal to work with prospective parents' based on no other reason than their sexual orientation.

The decision is the result of a suit brought by CSS against Philadelphia. Last May, the city announced it was suspending foster care placements with two agencies, CSS and Bethany Christian Services, given their refusal to place children with LGBTQ prospective parents. While Bethany Christian Services ultimately agreed to stop discriminating against same-sex parents, CSS sued the city instead, and lost.

Judge Tucker found that no "substantial burden" existed on on CSS's religious exercise in providing foster care to children, writing that, "In essence, if CSS provides its services consistent with the minimal requirements of the all-comers provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance, then CSS may continue to provide foster care to children.

Elsewhere around the country, however, the news on LGBTQ adoption rights has been much less encouraging. Over the course of the year, news hasn't been great for the LGBTQ community's adoption rights. Over the course of the year, a slew of anti-LGBTQ adoption measures have been cropping up in state legislatures all across the country. At the federal level this month, Republicans passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that if enacted will allow tax-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ adoptive parents on the grounds of religious freedom.

Get Involved!

Want to take action? Look up your federal representatives here and demand they reject the inclusion of the anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill passed by Republicans earlier this week.

Have you experienced discrimination as a potential gay adoptive or foster parent? We want to hear about it. Contact us at dads@gayswithkids.com and tell us about your experience.

And stay tuned to Gays With Kids as we continue to monitor and report on developments in anti-discrimination protections for adoptive LGBTQ parents, on both the state and federal level.

Change the World

U.S. Republican Lawmakers Amend Funding Bill to Give Adoption Providers License to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Call your representatives today to demand they reject the inclusion of this anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill

Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers across the country are attempting to allow state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and others on the grounds of "religious freedom." According to the Desert News, there have been 140 "religious freedom" bills debated just this year, many of which would negatively impact the LGBTQ community. Two such bills restricting adoption rights have already passed, in Oklahoma and Kansas, with another pending in South Carolina.

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Change the World

Lawmakers in South Carolina Target LGBTQ Parents

A provision, hidden in a 500-page appropriations bill, is part of a troubling trend of state-sanctioned discrimination against prospective LGBTQ parents

This month, politicians in South Carolina inserted a provision into a 500-page appropriations bill that would allow adoption agencies that receive taxpayer money to prevent placement of a child in any home if employees have a "sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction."

Though the wording doesn't mention the LGBTQ community by name, one need only read between the lines to know the purpose of this discriminatory provision is aimed squarely at our queer little foreheads; If passed, South Carolina will become the 10th state in the country to successfully carve out so-called "religious freedom" exemptions in adoption laws that are unjustly used to prevent placing children in loving and capable LGBTQ-headed households.

Beyond the troubling trend in state-sanction discrimination against LGBTQ parents, it's remarkable that state lawmakers are seeking to shrink the pool of prospective adoptive parents, particularly when there are an estimated 4,000 children in South Carolina in need of homes.

"This hastily added provision does nothing to improve the outcomes for children in care, but only shrinks the pool of prospective parents in a blatant attempt to discriminate against LGBTQ South Carolinians," Marty Rouse, National Field Director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "It's not too late for [Gov. Henry McMaster] to fix the state legislature's mistake and veto this dangerous measure."

The language of the provision is so broad, it could potentially be used to discriminate against anyone an adoption agency deems unfit for parenthood, such as non-Christian couples and single parents.

If you live in South Carolina, contact Governor McMaster now and demand he veto the anti-LGBTQ adoption provision within the appropriations bill.

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