Last LGBT Parenting Roundup of the Year

I’m still in “light posting over the holidays” mode here, but for those of you still out there and reading, here’s a quick roundup of LGBT parenting news to hold you for a few days:

  • President Bush—yes, that’s right—signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA), making it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee’s death. This means same-sex couples, just like opposite-sex married couples, will automatically avoid tax penalties on those benefits. (My suspicion? Bush isn’t bothering to read anything that crosses his desk these days. Still, we’ll take it. This could have a significant impact on some couples’ financial security.)
  • Could Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s appointment of ultra-conservatives to the state’s Commission on Marriage and Family mean an attempt to ban adoption by same-sex couples in the state? Appointees include Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, clergy from conservative Christian denominations, and the law professor who wrote the state’s “covenant marriage” law. I wonder how last week’s U.S. District Court ruling that the Louisiana state registrar must honor the New York adoption of a baby boy by a same-sex couple will affect matters.
  • Utah State Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, (D-Salt Lake City), is trying to reverse the law that bans all unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Her proposal would still give married couples preference for adoption, but “would allow unmarried couples to be considered when the biological parent consents or if the child is in state custody.” Seems like a weak measure to me, but maybe it’s the only thing that has a chance (however small) of passage.
  • On a related note, NBC Los Angeles has a video on the possibility of even more states banning adoption by same-sex couples.
  • A lesbian mother of two in Tennessee is appealing a clause in her child custody agreement that prevents her partner of nine years from staying the night when Chandler’s teenage children (from an opposite-sex marriage that ended ten years ago) are in the home. According to the Jackson Sun, the clause was added even though “a court-ordered psychological evaluation of all the parties noted the partner was a positive influence on the children.”
  • A Spanish judge has been suspended after attempting to stop a lesbian from adopting her wife’s child, an adoption that is perfectly legal. He had opined, “a homosexual environment threatened [the children's] education.”
  • The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced that Lawyers USA has named NCLR Legal Director Shannon Price Minter as one of six 2008 lawyers of the year. Minter is also a parent, warranting his inclusion in this post.
  • CNN reports on the growing number of single men, gay and straight, turning to gestational surrogacy.