FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new online toolkit today designed to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents with the information they need to protect their relationships with their children. The toolkit can be found online by clicking the parenting section at www.aclu.org/getequal.
"The many state constitutional amendments seeking to ban all types of protections for the families of lesbian and gay couples have people feeling attacked and vulnerable," said Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. "We've launched this new toolkit to give LGBT parents the tools they need to protect their families and to provide those thinking about raising children with the know-how to negotiate the often confusing laws of parenting."
The toolkit at www.aclu.org/getequal. has information for all types of LGBT families, from LGBT people who have come out after having children in heterosexual relationships, to couples contemplating having or adopting children, to special concerns specific to transgender people. The site includes information on second parent adoptions, information about adoption and foster parenting, tips on how to avoid mistakes in custody and visitation when going through a heterosexual divorce, as well as links to information about the specific law in each state.
"The laws on LGBT parenting can be intimidating and confusing. LGBT parents going through a divorce often don't realize they have rights to custody or visitation with their children," said Coles. "All too often they agree to custody or visitation agreements that prevent them from being able to live with their partners. With this toolkit, we want to arm LGBT parents with the right information so they can avoid agreements like these and other pitfalls."
The toolkit also confronts many of the harmful stereotypes about gay people that have been used to deny LGBT people custody and visitation rights to their children and to ban gay people from adoption and foster parenting. The toolkit debunks these stereotypes with decades of social science research proving that gay people are just as capable of being good parents as heterosexual parents and their children are just as well adjusted.
"The last year has seen a spate of attacks against gay people as parents," said Coles. "These attacks are completely unfounded and go against the recommendations of all of the nation's legitimate child welfare organizations. Our children deserve better than to be made pawns of anti-gay bigotry."