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Richson: Family, not labels

BY BRIANNE RICHSON | MAY 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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An Iowa Supreme Court ruling now requires the state Public Health Department to allow both same-sex parents’ names to be listed on their children’s birth certificates. While this seems like a no-brainer considering Iowa has allowed same sex marriage since 2009, this was not the case.

Not only do same-sex couples benefit from the boost toward marriage equality this ruling grants them, it also benefits the children involved in a marriage should there ever be a paternity or marital dispute.

If people can’t find it in themselves to support same-sex couples’ legal rights, then at least think about the kids involved.

This is not the first incident in which the well-being of children has been considered, all stances on same-sex couples aside. In 2007, the Human Rights Campaign launched an initiative known as All Children — All Families in order to familiarize adoption agencies with the prospect of welcoming LGBT couples into their clientele.

Currently also in the works is the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, headed by representatives from both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Spurred by the excess of children finding themselves funneled into the foster-care system, the act would serve as a definitive advocate for kids in the system looking to be adopted yet struggle with the fact that they, too, identify as LGBT.

It is a harsh reality that these teens specifically often take longer to be adopted or are placed into homes not well versed in how to help a potentially struggling LGBT teen embrace her or his identity.

But if agencies were required to not discriminate against LGBT couples interested in adopting, parents and child win.

The root of alleviating controversy over same-sex marriage seems to beckon people to consider the overall functioning and happiness of family units. There are children out there looking to find parents and have them be legally recognized as such, and there are couples waiting for full legal and societal acceptance. Family isn’t about labels — it’s about mutual acceptance and support.


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