LGBT people become parents in a variety of ways, including adoption, foster parenting, donor insemination, surrogacy, and from previous heterosexual relationships. The law governing family relationships varies significantly from state to state. We have made great progress in protecting the relationships of LGBT parents and their children—unfortunately, there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

In some states, children raised by same-sex couples or in families in which one or both parents are transgender can be denied legally recognized relationships with a parent, leaving them vulnerable to the loss of the relationship with and support of that parent. At the ACLU, we’re committed to ensuring that LGBT parents and their children can establish legal ties and are afforded the same protections available to other families. We will advocate to make this a reality in every state.

The ACLU is also fighting to eliminate state adoption and foster care policies that exclude LGBT people from becoming adoptive or foster parents. This discriminatory treatment stems from baseless negative stereotypes and hurts families and children in the foster care system, depriving them of loving families.

We also strive to end the discriminatory treatment that transgender parents all too often face in child custody cases, which can result in parent-child relationships being damaged or even severed. Custody and visitation decisions should be made based on the child’s best interests, not on erroneous assumptions about transgender people. 

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against on the basis of your sexual orientation or gender identity, we may be able to help.  You can click here to fill out our confidential online form.  For non-LGBT issues, please contact your local ACLU affiliate.

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