This month, my wife Katherine and I spent $3,000 to adopt the child we gave birth to (she’s the cute one in the video above). Even though we are legally married in the State of New York, Katherine's parenthood will not be fully recognized without this adoption.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allows other states to refuse to recognize our marriage. Without the adoption, if we visited Edie’s grandparents in Wisconsin, Katherine couldn't make medical decisions for Edie. She couldn't sign a release form for Edie to play at a play gym. If I were in a car accident, the state could take custody of Edie until her legal next of kin (my immediate family) arrived from Boston. The current Supreme Court cases do not address this problem.
In order for Katherine to adopt, both of us must be evaluated by a social worker to determine if we are fit to parent our own daughter. Then Katherine has to be fingerprinted and background checked. Then we'll have to stand in front of a judge who is empowered to say whether or not we are a family.
It made us angry when we learned that we would have to adopt our own child. And it made us concerned for other LGBT families who can’t afford to do an adoption. Where would those families go for help?
The answer is the LGBT Law Project at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG).
We decided to turn our anger into a campaign to raise at least as much as we spent on the adoption for NYLAG. Every penny raised will help low-income LGBT families become whole in the eyes of the law.
The LGBT Law Project at NYLAG provides free legal services to low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community members throughout New York City. They provide second-parent adoptions, legal name changes, representation in employment matters and much more.
The more we talked to people about the adoption, the more we discovered that very few people knew that marriage equality in New York State didn't fix this problem. In addition to giving, we are asking you to tell your friends and family about this problem. Share it on Facebook with your own message saying what you think about the ongoing lack of equality for LGBT people. You can reach the LGBT Law Project at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Marriage equality was a profoundly important step. Thanks for joining us on the rest of the journey.
Jen, Katherine and Edie