Thank goodness, times are changing
An Ontario judge got it right, holding a mother in contempt of court because denied access to a child's father based on...get this...the child's accidental exposure to what the mother believes is a polyamorous relationship among the child's paternal grandparents and a lesbian who lives with them. (The father currently has an application pending to remove the term restricting access to H from the order.)
When the parties separated in 2008, it was a term of the consent custody and access order that E's dad would not 'expose' her to the lesbian who lived with his parents. E's mother objected on religious an moral grounds to E having any contact with H.
This summer, E was accidentally in the same place as H twice: once when H arrived at a family barbecue and once when E's dad took her to the hospital to see her dying great grandmother and they ran into H. On both occasions H avoided E entirely, being aware of the court order.
Nevertheless, E's mother unilaterally suspended E's father's right to see E.
The court held the mother in contempt of court, and ordered makeup time for the access weekends the father had been wrongly denied.
It is very heartening to see courts treat situations involving queers and/or polyamorous families (whether the grandparents are in a polyamorous relationship has been alleged but not proven by the child's mother) without getting sidetracked, and without thinking it has anything to do with the best interests of the child.
November 20 is a day recognized around the world as Transgender Day of Remembrance. Its purpose is to remember the many trans people who have been murdered, assaulted, and viciously discriminated against world wide.
The Ontario Federation of Labour has today issued a call for universal Trans Human Rights.
The battle to add 'gender identity' to human rights laws continues. BUT trans people are NOW able to fight discrimination on the basis of 'sex' and should not be deterred by whether 'gender identity' is listed as a specific ground in their human rights legislation.
Jim Andre, the Alberta school trustee newly-elected to the Camrose School Board, has resigned over the publication of his months of racist, sexist, homophobic tweets. Thanks to Kris Wells for weighing in on this and for passing on the success story!
Last week Jim Andre, a recently-elected school board trustee for the school district of Camrose AB, was outed on CTV as the author of a series of about 60 tweets which were explicitly racist, sexist and/or homophobic.
There has been a firestorm in the wake of the disclosure.
Andre says he won't resign unless the school board votes to ask him. The school board meets this week. The whole story here.
Baby Steps: New Law Clarifies Status of Sperm Donors, Egg Donors, Surrogate Mothers; Says Child Can Have More than Two Parents
Finally, the law offers certainty to queers who want to become parents.
For prospective queer parents, a donation of sperm or eggs is a necessity. Gay dads, couples with a trans parent, or infertile lesbians also need a surrogate (a woman who will carry the child).
Sperm donors can be either known (the "turkey baster method") or unknown, with sperm from a clinic. Eggs have to be extracted by a clinic. A surrogacy arrangement can either be made through a clinic, or through a friend who will bear a child and then give the child to the child's parent(s) to raise.
Till now, it was unclear whether a donor (of sperm, for example) did or could have any parental rights or responsibilities under the law.
If a child was born with the use of a surrogate, it was necessary to get a court order declaring the intended parents to be the legal parents of the child.
And although two co-mothers could register at birth and be on a child's birth certificate, an adoption or a declaration of parentage was required before the comother was a full legal parent of her child.
And the maximum number of parents a child could have was two.
All that has changed.
The new Family Law Act
- spells out that donors are NOT "parents", unless they are using the donated material to create a child that they will themselves raise, or unless the donor has a parenting agreement with the child's other parent(s)
- says that intended parents can be registered after the birth of a child by a surrogate mother, without a court order
- says that a child can have more than two legal parents, provided that all the people intending to parent sign an agreement to do so before the child is conceived. A child's birth certificate would then list all those parents.
For a detailed discussion of the provisions, check out the paper that Zara Suleman and I wrote for the Continuing Legal Education Society: Baby Steps: Assisted Reproduction and the Family Law Act
ILGA (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) reports this week that Kuwait plans to implement 'genetic tests' to determine whether people wanting to enter the country are queer.
Amnesty International has criticized the move; in turn drawing the ire of Kuwaiti MPs.
For the fully story: Kuwait Genetic Testing