The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has published a new report, “Born Free and Equal: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Law,” which is a good thing—but as LGBT family law expert Nancy Polikoff points out, is mysteriously silent on international law related to LGBT parents and our children.
The publication “sets out the source and scope of some of the core legal obligations that States have to protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people,” says the OHCHR. It “focuses on five core obligations where national action is most urgently needed – from protecting people from homophobic violence, to preventing torture, decriminalizing homosexuality, prohibiting discrimination, and safeguarding freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all LGBT people.”
All important areas, to be sure. But while the document discusses discrimination in areas such as employment, health, education, pensions, and inheritance, Polikoff writes, it does not mention “adoption or access to assisted reproduction or child custody.” The omission is “especially odd” because “international human rights law definitely does contain a nondiscrimination principle” in the area of LGBT parenting.
(Polikoff credits Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights for bringing this issue to her attention, so I’ll pass the credit along.)