LGBTQ rights have come a long way in the past decade, but while marriage is a federal right of same-sex couples, there are still many legal challenges to overcome—particularly when it comes to familial rights. The New York Times recently highlighted the difficult experiences of many gay families in the United States and the additional steps they may need to take to be recognized as a family by law.


Many people assume that when a same-sex couple chooses to make a family they are automatically granted the same rights as a straight couple choosing to do so. Unfortunately, it is much more complicated for LGBTQ couples due to a patchwork of laws that define who can be a parent.

These legal complications can affect where same-sex couples reside and how they form their families. For example, certain states have granted religious exemptions to adoption agencies in which they can choose where children are placed based on religious beliefs.

Additionally, surrogacy restrictions and custody rights come into play in many states as well. Even though a couple is married, both of their names are on the birth certificate, and one of them is the biological parent of the child, there can still be complications that arise with divorce and death, as the nonbiological parent could lose the custody of the child.


While unfair and yet another loophole to jump through, there are options for same-sex couples that can grant them the same rights. The Supreme Court has ruled that adoption must be recognized from state-to-state. Therefore, a nonbiological parent can legally adopt the child through second-parent or stepparent adoption if married—it’s the strongest form of protection.


There are many benefits to working with an attorney experienced in helping LGBTQ couples adopt. Same-sex and stepparent adoption is a complicated subject matter, and competency in this arena is key. If you or someone you know is looking to establish a family within a same-sex marriage and have any questions about the best ways to protect your family, contact us today. We want to make sure you are protected.

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