Change the World

5 Different Ways Gay Couples Decide on Last Names for Their Kids

Recently, we asked our readers on Facebook a question: how did you decide which last name to give you children? While the question might have been simple, the answers were anything but. Here are some of the most common (and creative!) ways gay men have figured out the answer to the "name game" question:

#1) The Hyphen

By far the most common response was also the most simple: just stick a hyphen between both names and call it a day!

"We hyphenated our son's last name," said Adam. "And now that his adoption is finalized we are going to legally change our own last names to the hyphenated form as well so all three of us will have the same last name."

Steven and his partner hyphenated as well, but notes it can make for a long John Hancock: "[We] gave our son both of our last names," he said. "Its a long one but makes us a unique family: George Bonilla-Graham-Darby.

Bryan's solution to that particular conundrum? Let the kids figure it out when they're older. "[our kids] can keep or choose one [last name] if they would like when they are older."

#2) Concoct Something Entirely New

Several dads said they ditched both last names in favor of something entirely new. "I was Furness, husband was Moore," Cory wrote. "We became the Fernmoors. Our name change happened just before we adopted our son. Why should we feel we couldn't let go of our old name when our son had no choice but to do the same?"

#3) The Culture Club

Sæþór notes that the "name game" isn't one gay dads in all cultures must play. "In Iceland one doesn't change their name when marrying, gay or straight," he points out. "It is interesting living in a nation where last names change every generation, these things aren't as big a deal."

Others found creative ways to integrate their children's background into their names. "When my husband and I were married, we kept our last names," said Dwight. But they decided on something unique for their son. "We decided to use my last name, and to honor his culture and heritage (he is Chinese) we used the last part of his first name as our sons middle name."

#4) The Single Dad

Many readers pointed out the "name game" isn't a problem for the single dad. "I'm a single parent," said Talon. "So that was an easy one for me."

And what if they partner up in the future? That's a decision for a later date, says Joseph. "Since I am single, obviously [I kept] my last name," he wrote. "Now if I was in a relationship it would be an open communication decision that both parties can agree on."

#5) Leave it to Fate

David let the gender of the child decide the fate of the last name. "We kind of flipped a coin," he wrote. "[We] decided if we had a girl we'd use my mom's middle name and my husband's last name, and if we had a boy we'd use my husband's middle name and my last name."
And the award for the most practical solution to the "name game?" That would definitely go to Dan: "We decided based on what would look better on a soccer Jersey," he said.

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Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


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