Showing posts with label Gay Parents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Parents. Show all posts

March 16, 2016

Sally Field on Her Gay Son: ‘It’s not against nature if nature did this'


Sally Field is an ardent advocate of LGBT rights, even winning the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Ally for Equality Award. Her youngest son, Sam, presented her with the honor.
 During an EW Radio town hall on SiriusXM this week, PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle asked Field for any advice she would give to parents who expected their child was about to come out to them.
“First of all, don’t be frightened. And don’t put your own prejudices or fears about sexuality — your own fears about sexuality – on your children,” Field says. “Sexuality is a human glorious part of existence.”
Field noted in Sam’s case it was initially difficult for her son to become accustomed to his identity as a gay man. Field said she did her best to encourage Sam to discover his true self: “I welcomed him to welcome himself and find that part of his life.”
“What horrifies me is that there are parents who so disapprove, who are so brainwashed to think that this is something out of the Bible or ungodly or against nature,” Field continued. “It’s not against nature if nature has actually done this. Sam was always Sam, this wonderful human that he is, from the time he was born. … Some people actually shut their children out of the house when they’re young, they’re teenagers – they’re having a hard enough time to be teenagers and own any part of sexuality. I’m still trying to figure it out!”

August 22, 2015

Elton Forgives DG and Some Actors Just Refuse to Play Gay



                                                                       

 Sir Ian McKellen thinks that actors who don’t want to come out as gay are prisoners of their representation. ” My career took off as a film actor when I came out. The advice that actors get to not come out is usually given to them by their agents who are themselves gay, by their publicists who are themselves gay. It’s all a hypocrisy and they’re frightened, everyone’s always frightened about what someone will say. I don’t give a damn whether someone’s gay or straight. I fancy them or I don’t fancy them.”
But he understands that the problem extends to everyone in public life. “The thing is, it’s not just a problem for actors, you know. How many politicians discuss with their agents and their constituents, “Do you think it would be all right if I came out?” I don’t think constituents worry if a member of parliament is gay. Is he or she a good congressperson? Is he or she a good actor? That’s all, really. The rest is old news, but no one looks to Hollywood for social advancement. They only just discovered they have black people in the Oscars two years ago. I’ve still got my acceptance speech: “Members of the Academy, I’m proud to be the first openly gay actor to ever win this award.” Of course I didn’t give that speech, but nor has anybody else. It does put people off, but take courage.”

let-backlash-begin-for-dolce-gabbana (adamfoxie)

Sir Elton John has accepted Dolce & Gabanna’s apology for calling his children synthetic. “Big thanks to Stefano and Domenico for the apology over their comments about IVF children. We have always been big fans of their work. Now that the slate is clean we look forward wearing their designs once again.” Well, Sir Elton has always been known to have a shopping addiction. He, like all junkies, has found an excuse to get his fix.

















January 4, 2015

The way for 2015 Parents to Advocate for their Gay Kids






2014 was a monumental year in many ways for the LGBT population, especially for gay parents. Many states legalized same-sex marriage, the number jumping to 35 states. That is the first year that the majority of states allowed LGBT couples to legally marry. However, there is still more work to be done, states such as Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee stuck with legislation that prohibits LGBT marriage. Other states such as Pennsylvania now have legislation that supports gay marriage, but have not enacted additional laws that protect the LGBT community, gay individuals able to be kicked out of restaurants, housing, and the workplace. 
While some LGBT couples can adopt and become foster parents, some states still ban gay people from adoption and fostering children. With LGBT parents still experiencing discrimination on many levels, there are still many things that you can fight for this year. Read on to see how you can advocate as an LGBT parent in 2015.
Same-sex marriage laws still need to change in 15 states, which leaves work for you to complete as an LGBT parent. Write a letter to your state senators that express your support for gay marriage, listing reasons why gay marriage is important to you. If possible, obtain signatures from other people in your neighborhood and local community.
You can also start petitions that call for anti-gay laws to change. Are you not sure how to start a petition? Then, visit the website Change.org, which will guide you through the petition process, including how to format one and get people involved. If you want to get more involved on a national scale, then join LGBT supportive groups, such as The Human Rights Campaign, the Family Equality Council, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
LGBT Bullying
Does your school district have a good anti-bullying policy that does not tolerate bullying? An effective bullying policy has the following components: a definition of bullying and types of bullying, the school’s policy on bullying, how perpetrators will be punished, and a process and explanation as to how teachers, educational staff, parents, students are to handle and report bullying. Presentations and in services that educate students and staff are also signs of a top notch anti-bullying policy.
If your child’s school district does not have an anti-bullying policy, then consider trying to start and implement one. Sadly, LGBT teenagers are still 40% more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual students. Many of these students have been subjected to in person and cyberbullying and worse yet, some students have succeeded in committing suicide, gay teenagers such as Jamey Rodemeyer and Tyler Clementi killing themselves after being bullied for their LGBT sexual orientation. Do your part this year. Call or write letters to school principals, school psychologists, and superintendents to discuss school bullying policies and ways that change can be implemented.
Does your state have national legislation to combat school bullying? If not, 2015 is the time to advocate for new laws. Again, pick up the phone or your pen and start contacting state senators, councilmen, etc. to make sure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected. Spread the word to other people who can also join the fight against LGBT bullying.
Boycott Anti-gay Companies
Are there companies in your area that support anti-gay laws and do not believe in same-sex marriage? The first stop to change is to boycott their products and get friends and family to follow suit. Why shop or support an organization that does not support you? If you are unsure about which businesses are LGBT friendly, then click on the Corporate Equality Index. 366 companies are given a score out of 100 that accesses how LGBT friendly the company is. 
Do you have some ideas on how to advocate for LGBT rights? Please share your ideas by leaving a comment on this page.

November 28, 2014

Evangelicals with Gay Children Challenge the Church


                                                                            

First a word from the publisher to any parent and any child:

It’s easy to tell parents of gay children what to do about their seemingly gay children. It is another thing to be a parent and know how not to damaged their children instead of following what some clown said which could damaged children probably for life. Read the Bible and see what is the number one responsibility of a parent? “The physical and mental welfare of your child.” If you don’t agree with that I surely hope you are not a parent. It’s not to make the child follow you on your religion or crazy ideas about that child natural development.  If the child identifies as a different gender than the parents thought, nothing had given those parents the right to damaged that child according to their likings like you would a pet if you want it to have siblings or not. The child’s sexuality is not for the parents to assign and is not the parents job to try to find out before a child is ready to tell if they have tendencies different than the parents.
Rob and Linda Robertson did what they believed was expected of them as good Christians.
When their 12-year-old son Ryan said he was gay, they told him they loved him, but he had to change. He entered "reparative therapy," met regularly with his pastor and immersed himself in Bible study and his church youth group. After six years, nothing changed. A despondent Ryan cut off from his parents and his faith, started taking drugs and in 2009, died of an overdose.
"Now we realize we were so wrongly taught," said Rob Robertson, a firefighter for more than 30 years who lives in Redmond, Washington. "It's a horrible, horrible mistake the church has made."
The tragedy could have easily driven the Robertsons from the church. But instead of breaking with evangelicalism -- as many parents in similar circumstances have done -- the couple is taking a different approach, and they're inspiring other Christians with gay children to do the same. They are staying in the church and, in protesting what they see as the demonization of their sons and daughters, presenting a new challenge to Christian leaders trying to hold off growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.
"Parents don't have anyone on their journey to reconcile their faith and their love for their child," said Linda Robertson, who with Rob attends a nondenominational evangelical church. "They either reject their child and hold onto their faith, or they reject their faith and hold onto their child. Rob and I think you can do both: be fully affirming of your faith and fully hold onto your child."
It's not clear how much of an impact these parents can have. Evangelicals tend to dismiss fellow believers who accept same-sex relationships as no longer Christian. The parents have only recently started finding each other online and through faith-oriented organizations for gays and lesbians such as the Gay Christian Network, The Reformation Project and The Marin Foundation.
But Linda Robertson, who blogs about her son at justbecausehebreathes.com, said a private Facebook page she started last year for evangelical mothers of gays has more than 300 members. And in the last few years, high-profile cases of prominent Christian parents embracing their gay children indicate a change is occurring beyond a few isolated families.
James Brownson, a New Testament scholar at Western Theological Seminary, a Michigan school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, last year published the book "Bible, Gender, Sexuality," advocating a re-examination of what Scripture says about same-sex relationships. His son came out at age 18.
Chester Wenger, a retired missionary and pastor with the Mennonite Church USA, lost his clergy credentials this fall after officiating at his son's marriage to another man. In a statement urging the church to accept gays and lesbians, Wenger noted the pain his family experienced when a church leader excommunicated his son three decades ago without any discussion with Wenger and his wife.
The Rev. Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in California, was already moving toward recognizing same-sex relationships when his teenage son came out. When Cortez announced his changed outlook to his congregation this year, they voted to keep him. The national denomination this fall cut ties with the church.
In the United Methodist Church, two ministers with gay sons drew national attention for separately presiding at their children's same-sex weddings despite a church prohibition against doing so: The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a former dean of the Yale Divinity School, ultimately was not disciplined by the church, while the Rev. Frank Schaefer went through several church court hearings. He won the case and kept his clergy credentials, becoming a hero for gay marriage supporters within and outside the church.
"I think at some point moms and dads are going to say to their pastors and church leadership that you can't tell me that my child is not loved unconditionally by God," said Susan Shopland, the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary who, along with her gay son, is active with the Gay Christian Network.
Kathy Baldock, a Christian who advocates for gay acceptance through her website CanyonwalkerConnections.com, said evangelical parents are speaking out more because of the example set by their children. Gay and lesbian Christians have increasingly been making the argument they can be attracted to people of the same gender and remain faithful to God, whether that means staying celibate or having a committed same-sex relationship. The annual conference of the Gay Christian Network has grown from 40 people a decade ago to an expected 1,400 for the next event in January.
Matthew Vines, author of "God and the Gay Christian," has attracted more than 810,000 views on YouTube for a 2012 lecture he gave challenging the argument that Scripture bars same-sex relationships.
"These kids are now staying in the churches. They're not walking away like they used to," Baldock said.
The collapse of support for "reparative therapy" is also a factor, Shopland said. In June of last year, Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus International, a ministry that tried to help conflicted Christians repress same-sex attraction, apologized for the suffering the ministry caused and said the group would close down. At a conference on marriage and sexuality last month, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, the Rev. Al Mohler, said he was wrong to believe that same-sex attraction could be changed. Baldock, The Marin Foundation and the Gay Christian Network all say Christian parents have ben reaching out to them for help in notably higher numbers in the last couple of years.
"If it doesn't work, then parents are left with the question of what is the answer?" Shopland said. "If I can't change my kid into being a straight Christian, then what?"
Bill Leonard, a specialist in American religious history at Wake Forest Divinity School, said church leaders should be especially concerned about parents. He noted that many evangelicals began to shift on divorce when the marriages of the sons and daughters of pastors and "rock-ribbed" local church members such as deacons started crumbling. While conservative Christians generally reject comparisons between the church's response to divorce and to sexual orientation, Leonard argues the comparison is apt.
"The churches love those individuals and because they know them, those churches may look for another way," Leonard said.
Some evangelical leaders seem to recognize the need for a new approach. The head of the Southern Baptist public policy arm, the Rev. Russell Moore, addressed the issue on his blog and at the marriage conference last month, telling Christian parents they shouldn't shun their gay children. Mohler has said he expects some evangelical churches to eventually recognize same-sex relationships, but not in significant numbers.
Linda Robertson said the mothers who contact her through her Facebook page usually aren't ready to fully accept their gay sons or daughters. Some parents she meets still believe their children can change their sexual orientation. But she said most who reach out to her are moving away from the traditional evangelical view of how parents should respond when their children come out.
"I got a lot of emails from parents who said, 'I don't know one other parent of a gay child. I feel like in my community, I don't have permission to love my child,'" she said. "They have a lot of questions. But then they're going back to their churches and speaking to their pastors, speaking to their elders and speaking to their friends, saying, 'We have a gay child. We love them and we don't want to kick them out. How do we go forward?"
By RACHEL ZOLL Associated Press 

October 22, 2014

X Factor star Talks about mom leaving dad for a woman



ITV

He's the X Factor star who plucked the nation’s heart strings with his guitar-filled tunes and is even being backed by One Direction to win the show.
But today contestant Jack Walton opens up to 3am about his secret torment after his mum left his dad for woman.
The 18-year-old singer – who is from the mining town of Castleford in Yorkshire – was only 11 when his mum Rachel had an affair with a woman she met at work, leaving dad Robin heartbroken.
Since then Jack has spent most of his adult life living with his mum and step mum Jackie.
But he admits he initially got a lot of stick from friends and says: “It was a lot to take in when it all came out.
“She was still married to my dad then. It was hard to see that. My dad was heartbroken.  
“Plus I was 11 when I found out and I got a lot of stick for it. All my mates were saying ‘Oh, that’s gay’, and I’d say, ‘Don’t say that about my mum’.
“I tried to explain to them what it’s like. And I’d say, ‘If it was your mum, how would you feel?’
“You can’t disown your mum. If she is happy, that’s the main thing.”
He also recalls the moment when he asked her if she was a lesbian.
He says: “When I asked if she, she said, ‘I’m whatever you want to call me, but I’m in love with Jackie’.
“So I suppose that sums it up. I wasn’t ashamed of anything. I just wanted to tell other people.”
But Jack says at the time he even used to get knocked back by girls who didn’t like the fact that his mum was gay.
He explains: “I’ve had a couple of girls say, ‘I’d love to go out with him, but it puts me off that his mum is a lesbian’.  
“This girl I really liked, she came to my house, and she found out about my mum and said, ‘Look, I can’t do this because it makes me uncomfortable’.”
But the rising pop star is relieved that his parents still get on.
And while he hasn’t always believed in himself, Jack is hoping to leave the X Factor with a number one single.
He says: “I wasn’t going to go for my audition to be honest, I pretended my car broke down because I didn’t want to go.
“I had a massive self-belief problem at first.
“But I’m very happy to be here now and I’d really love one of my own songs that I’ve written to be a big hit.
“That’s my ultimate life goal, having a hit single.”
You can find all of his music, including some pre X-Factor stuff here.

July 2, 2014

Robert De Niro Shares that his Dad was Gay

                                                                  
Actor Robert De Niro, left, appears in photo with his father, a Syracuse native, from his new documentary "Remembering The Artist: Robert De Niro Sr." (HBO video still)

Robert De Niro, Sr. was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1922. He dreamed of becoming a famous painter, but today he may still be best known for his son: Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro.
The former "Raging Bull" star chronicled his father's life in a new documentary that premiered on HBO Monday night. "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr." follows the Syracuse native's struggles growing up in Central New York and his private conflicts trying to hide his homosexuality.
"To me, he was always a great artist," De Niro told Out magazine last month. "He probably was [conflicted about his sexuality] being from that generation, especially from a small town upstate. I was not aware, much, of it. I wish we had spoken about it much more."
De Niro, Sr. -- known as "Bob" to friends and family -- studied at the Syracuse Museum from age 11 to 15, according to his official biography. He left the Salt City in his late teens to study under abstract painters Josef Albers and Hans Hofmann. In Hoffman's Provincetown, R.I. school he met fellow artist Virginia Admiral and married her in 1942. Their only child, "Bobby" De Niro, was born a year later in New York City.
Family footage and photographs of both the artist and his actor son appear in the short film. At one point, a young Robert De Niro is seen in a black-and-white picture wearing a Syracuse t-shirt. 
The documentary showed how the elder De Niro struggled in NYC, where he was often associated with abstract expressionist painters of his generation such as Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning. But Bob was more of a figurative painter whose inspiration was "too French," art historians said.
On top of that, his personal turmoil coming to terms with his sexuality tore his family apart. The 70-year-old actor read entries from his father's personal journal, revealing he separated from his mother when he realized he was gay -- when the young De Niro was two or three years old -- and they divorced a decade later.
And as a new generation of pop artists like Andy Warhol took over the scene in the '60s, Bob grew ever resentful about his lack of recognition. He eventually moved to Paris, while Bobby's film career blossomed with roles in "The Godfather Part II," "Taxi Driver," and countless others.
A tearful De Niro admits his biggest regret was not being there for his father in his later years, when his health was in decline. De Niro, Sr. died in 1993 on his 71st birthday from prostate cancer.
The actor said he thinks if he forced his father to get more medical treatment, he could still be alive today.
But De Niro hopes to make up for it with "Remembering the Artist" and by keeping his father's studio in New York City, continuing to share his colorful works with the world.
"I realized how important it is for children to appreciate things their parents did," the actor told the camera. "'Cause I regret certain things with my parents that I didn't follow through on. I feel it's my obligation to document what he did, keep it going."
"Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr." will air again on HBO and its secondary channels throughout the months of June and July. The documentary is also available on HBO On Demand and HBO Go starting Tuesday.

May 6, 2014

Kids of Gay Parents Tape a Video for You



Kids Of Gay Parents Speak Out In Heartwarming Video












In preparation for their movie ‘FREE’, Team Angelica spent an afternoon at the South Bank Centre filming “kids of gay , straight, bi and undefinable parents.”
And the most important lesson these kids taught us, is that Parents are Parents, Family is Family, and Love is Love!
Watch below:

October 20, 2013

Russia’s MP Changes Mind About Taking Kids Away from Gay Parents

russia gay parents debate

 MOSCOW(RIA Novosti) – A bill that proposes stripping gays with children of their parental rights, introduced by Russian lawmaker Alexei Zhuravlyov, has been withdrawn from the parliament, a spokesperson for the lawmaker said Saturday.
“Yes, he has indeed withdrawn it,” spokesperson Sofia Cherepanova said, adding that the document would be later revised and again submitted to the Russian State Duma. She said that the author’s position on the matter “remains unchanged.” “Anyway, we are interested in passing the bill,” Cherepanova added.  
Zhuravlyov, a member of the ruling United Russia party, submitted the bill to the lower house of the Russian parliament in September. However, the proposal has not received any significant public backing.
Between 5 and 7 percent of the Russian population are gay, a third of whom have children, Zhuravlyov’s bill claimed, citing unspecified experts. If true, between 2.3 million and 3.3 million Russians could possibly lose their children if the bill was passed.
The bill was a follow-up to legislation introduced in June that bans propagation of “gay propaganda among minors,” according to the document’s text, available on the State Duma’s website.
“Harm that could be inflicted on a child’s mental health in case of their parent’s homosexual contacts is immense,” the bill’s author said in a note accompanying the document.
The bill cited a controversial 2012 study by US sociologist Mark Regnerus as proof that gay parenting distorts a child’s sexual orientation and increases suicidal tendencies, social ineptitude and risks of catching venereal disease.
The study by Regnerus, an associate professor at the University of Austin and a practicing Christian, has sparked vehement debate in the sociological community and was formally condemned by the American Sociological Association as invalid earlier this year. Zhuravlyov’s note makes no mention of the controversy, but claims Regnerus’ findings were corroborated by unspecified independent experts.

May 3, 2013

Iowa Judge Settles The Law } On a Gay Marriage Both Spouses Names Will Appear As Parents


Marsha Stevens-Pino

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa agency's refusal to list both spouses in a lesbian marriage as parents on their children's birth certificates is a violation of their constitutional rights and must stop, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The court, which made history by legalizing gay marriage in 2009, ordered the Iowa Department of Public Health to start listing the names of both female spouses on the birth certificates of their children. The ruling was backed by all six justices who participated.
Iowa had been the only state in the nation that allowed marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, but refused to list both spouses on birth certificates of their children, according to Camilla Taylor, an attorney for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group involved in the case.
Justice David Wiggins said the state government "has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification" for treating lesbian parents differently than parents of opposite sex. He said the only explanation for doing so was "stereotype or prejudice" that violated their rights to be treated equally under the Iowa Constitution.
"It is important for our laws to recognize that married lesbian couples who have children enjoy the same benefits and burdens as married opposite-sex couples who have children," Wiggins wrote.
The court's ruling appears to be limited to lesbian couples who use sperm donors to conceive children. Taylor said using sperm donors is by far the most common way for same-sex couples to conceive, and the court may have to decide another day how to treat lesbian or gay male couples who have children through surrogate mothers.
"The Department of Public Health appreciates the definitive direction from the Supreme Court and it will fully implement the directive of the Court to name both married lesbian women as a child's parents on the birth certificate," spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said.
The ruling is a victory for Heather and Melissa Gartner of Des Moines, who filed the lawsuit after the department listed only Heather as a parent of their daughter in 2009. The couple argued the agency's decision deprived their daughter of the protections and benefits of having two legal parents present from birth.
Hundreds of same-sex couples in Iowa have been denied accurate birth certificates since 2009, Taylor said, and suffer a range of problems as a result of one of the spouses not being considered legal parents. They've had hassles enrolling their children in schools, taking them to the doctor and traveling, she said.
"This is a great day not just for the Gartner family who fought long and hard, but for so many other hundreds of Iowa families that want accurate, two-parent vital records for their kids," she said.
The department had previously told same-sex couples they had to complete the lengthy and expensive legal process of adopting the child in order to be issued a birth certificate listing both as parents. The Gartners did that for a son born before the court's 2009 decision legalized gay marriage.
After the ruling, the Gartners got married. Heather gave birth to a daughter, Mackenzie, using the same anonymous sperm donor as before. At the hospital, the Gartners filled out the form listing both as parents. But when they got Mackenzie's birth certificate back, Heather was listed as a parent and the space for the second was blank.
The department explained that its system only recognized biological mothers and fathers. Its lawyers later argued the goal was to ensure vital records accurately reflected a child's biological parents and helped establish paternity to ensure financial support of the child.
But Wiggins said those claims were undercut because the department recognizes both parents of opposite-sex couples who give birth through sperm donors, and for same-sex couples who complete the adoption process.
"These realities demonstrate that the disparate treatment of married lesbian couples is less effective and efficient, and that some other unarticulated reason, such as stereotype or prejudice, may explain the real objective of the state," he wrote.
The decision was the court's first involving gay rights since Iowa voters in 2010 removed three of the justices who joined the 2009 marriage ruling.

Two of the three replacements appointed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, Thomas Waterman and Edward Mansfield, joined the outcome of Friday's ruling in a concurrence. They noted pointedly that the state declined to challenge the 2009 ruling and that if it is the law, the Gartners both had to be recognized as parents. The third, Bruce Zager, didn't participate.

September 18, 2012

Rupert Everett Has A Opinion in Which He Insults Every Child From Every Gay Family

gty rupert everett dm 120917 wblog Rupert Everett Blasts Gay Parents, GLAAD Calls Insult Outdated

Though Rupert Everett blazed a trail for homosexual actors when he came out decades ago, he’s now saying that gay men don’t make good parents.
The actor best known for “Shakespeare in Love” and “My Best  
Friend’s Wedding” told Britain’s Sunday Times Magazine that his mother has met his boyfriend but “still wishes I had a wife and kids.”
“She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her,” he said. “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”
“Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion,” he said, adding that he doesn’t consider himself part of the “gay community.”
In response, GLAAD president Herndon Graddick said, “Since Everett shared his outdated opinion, gay parents, as well as their friends and families, have voiced overwhelming disappointment. Children aren’t hurt when raised by caring gay parents, but they are when uninformed people in the public eye insult their families.”
The Family Equality Council combated Everett’s opinion with statistics, saying in a statement that “more than 30 years of scientific research shows overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who are LGBT do equally as well as their counterparts raised by heterosexual parents.”
Everett, 53, angered gay rights advocates in 2009 when he said coming out in Hollywood is “not that advisable” and “just doesn’t work” for actors seeking longevity in their careers.
  abcnews.go.com
(Credit: Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images.)

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August 24, 2012

Gay Couple Getting Surrogate } Father on Will Declares He Must Marry The Mother

 

A gay man and his longtime partner decide to become parents using a surrogate mother. Shortly after their son is born, the couple gets married. But there's a catch for this modern family: A will left by the man's wealthy father decrees that he must marry the mother for the child to collect an inheritance.
That quandary has prompted the man, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert M. Mandelbaum, to contest the will in surrogate's court.Mandelbaum has filed a petition on behalf of his now 2-year-old son, Cooper, that argues that a condition that might "induce the beneficiary to enter into a sham marriage of convenience" should be invalid.
The petition makes two further arguments: that Mandelbaum's partner could be considered the boy's "mother," and that excluding the boy from sharing in the family fortune would run counter to public policies protecting same-sex marriages and their offspring.The petition portrays the father as being accepting of his son's lifestyle. But the will doesn't make clear why the father appeared to contradict that when it came to his estate.
An attorney for Mandelbaum declined comment on Thursday.A proposed settlement reached by Mandelbaum and the guardians of two other grandchildren that would give equal stakes in a trust set up by the grandfather is pending court approval, though it could be a longshot.Joshua S. Rubenstein, a Manhattan lawyer specializing in estate planning, said decedents have a right to shun possible beneficiaries — whether it's because they have two fathers or because they married someone of a different race or any other reason that might sound unreasonable or even cruel."We might all find that repugnant, but it's your property and you can do whatever you want with it," Rubenstein said.Mandelbaum may have "a very strong public policy argument, but the (father's) wishes may be controlling in this case," said Laura E. Stegossi, a Philadelphia estates lawyer.
The 47-year-old Mandelbaum is the son of Frank Mandelbaum, a successful Long Island businessman who died in 2007. The father was chairman and chief executive of Intelli-Check, a Woodbury, N.Y.-based maker of software that verifies the authenticity of driver's licenses and other forms of identification.
The elder Mandelbaum's will set up a trust worth hundreds of thousands for his grandchildren and their decedents. However, the will excluded any "adopted child of Robert, if adopted while Robert is a single person, or a biological child of Robert ... if Robert shall not be married to the child's mother within six months of the child's birth."













According to court documents, Mandelbaum is the biological father of Cooper, who was born in Pomona, Calif., on April, 5, 2010. The boy was conceived by using his sperm to fertilize an egg from an anonymous donor that was then implanted in the uterus of a second woman.
Mandelbaum's petition notes that a California birth certificate lists him as the "Father/Parent" and his partner, a tax lawyer, as the "Mother/Parent." The pair married in Connecticut on July 2, 2010 — within six months of Cooper's birth.
The petition argues that the disputed provision in the will was intended only to "ensure that any children born to Robert were raised in the context of a legally recognized and committed marital relationship."
Mandelbaum's father knew his son was in a committed relationship with another man, and frequently socialized and traveled with them, the papers add.
"Thus if it was the intent of the will were to require that Robert marry a woman, the will would thereby reflect an attempt to induce the breakup of an existing family," they say. "Any will provision reflecting such an intent is likewise unenforceable as against public policy."


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August 13, 2012

A Twist to The Brady Bunch with Two Dads


A new twist on the Brady Bunch gets two gay dads top honors in Arizona (courtesy of Esquire)
Steven and Roger Ham may seem like your typical parents. They take the kids to school, make sure everyone does their homework and even introduced a dog and kitty to the household. The only difference – these dads are raising 12 kids in their Phoenix home (in a state that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage and where legislators have tried to pass anti-gay adoption laws for years). That’s one of the reasons why Esquire named them among the “10 Best Dads of 2012″.
The oldest of this clan is 17 and the youngest is just three – and all are adopted. According to an article from the couple’s hometown paper, Steven spent six years as a stay-at-home dad raising the kids, though he went back to work for the first time this year – while Roger (a school bus driver) took 11 of the kids on a trip to the West coast during his summer off. The men – both in their 40s – have been together for nearly 19 years.
Esquire credits these gay dads with being great parents despite the odds. Since Arizona law prohibits marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, 10 of the children are legally bound only to Steven and two others, who had been adopted in Washington State where the laws favor LGBT parents, have been legally adopted by both proud papas. To make things easier at home, Roger even changed his name so that the family could have more consistency.
But no matter how many legal precautions taken to ensure the kids are cared for (paperwork for custody and emergency room visits, for starters), the anti-gay laws in the state still leaves them out of inheritance, shared healthcare and Social Security benefits. And if these dads decided to re-adopt the kids in a state that allows it, well, that would cost as much as $1,500 per child – money best used for this year’s back-to-school supplies and gas for the family van.
But over the years, these guys have welcomed 30 foster kids into their home. “Governor Jan Brewer recently honored Steven and Roger with an award for their efforts to keep foster-care siblings together through adoption,” says Esquire. Maybe she’ll think of them the next time she passes a law that makes parenting harder for couples who succeed despite the odds – couples just like Steven and Roger.

Posted by Natalie Hope McDonald
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