Three years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry and the government recognize the union. The ruling was groundbreaking and brought about a sweeping change in the marital laws and the recognition of LGBT marriage.
One thing that LGBT couples began to think about was having children. Before the 2015 ruling, same-sex couples cohabitated with children; however, they did not both have equal rights to the children should they separate. In those situations, one person was the legal mother or father. That person, through birth or adoption records, got sole custody when the couples broke up.
Other issues arose
Other common problem LGBT families faced before 2015 was the matter of health insurance. Same-sex couples were denied coverage under a partner’s insurance. If one died, the other was not entitled to any death benefits or social security. If the custodial parent died, children were often forced into foster care or given to direct relatives of the deceased parent. The other parent had no rights.
Since the 2015 law change, couples not only married but started adopting children as a couple. While the LGBT community looked upon this as a step forward, some state legislatures and religious groups continued to fight against equal rights for same-sex families.
Children in the mix
Even though there are many children in the foster care system needing permanent homes, some states have passed religious exemptions legislation. In doing so, companies and individuals are free to deny same-sex couples services based on religious reasons. Michigan is one of eight states in which taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies can deny LGBT couples from adopting children citing religious objections.
The LGBT community has come a long way in earning equal rights when it comes to marriage, divorce and child custody. However, there are still some obstacles to overcome for these particular families.