Uniform Parentage Is Now Law in Rhode Island

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday July 22, 2020

Life just got a little easier for same-sex parents and families using certain kinds of reproductive health technology in the state of Rhode Island.

Governor Gina Raimondo signed the landmark Rhode Island Uniform Parentage Act into law on July 21, the Providence Journal reports, updating the state's legal views on family by making it easier for people who are not biologically related to their children to access the full slate of parental rights and responsibilities without needing to spend extravagant amounts of time and money in court to obtain those rights.

Noted Raimondo, moments before signing the legislation: "Fundamentally, this is about securing equal rights under the law."

The updated law was passed by both chambers of the Rhode Island General Assembly with near-unanimity. Both the state senate and state house saw only one vote each against the bill.

The new legislation "updates Rhode Island's parentage laws for the first time in close to 50 years," noted local news channel WJAR.

National LGBTA advocacy group GLAD issued a press release summarizing and praising the new law:

The legislation allows LGBTQ couples access to establishing parentage through a simple civil Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage, reducing the need for a burdensome, expensive and lengthy co-parent adoption process. It also creates for the first time in Rhode Island an accessible path to parentage for children born through assisted reproduction, as well as protections for children born through surrogacy.

Said GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Polly Crozier: "By eliminating discriminatory, costly, and invasive barriers and enacting comprehensive parentage reform, Rhode Island has said loud and clear that all children - whether they are born to LGBTQ parents; through assisted reproduction; or surrogacy - deserve to be protected in every jurisdiction by a secure legal connection to their parents."

The release recalled that prior to the new law, mothers and fathers who had not yet completed the adoption process faced barriers in everyday parenting situations such as medical care and picking up their children from school.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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