It's National Adoption Day!

National Adoption Day is a national day of celebration of adoptive families and an opportunity for courts to open their doors and finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. Since 2000, more than 35,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day.

On November 19, 2011, families, adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and volunteers will come together and celebrate adoption in communities large and small all across the nation.

The One Day Project was created by the National Adoption Day Coalition to share with the thousands of waiting children what this one day is like, and what it means to find their forever family. Watch this video to see how this one day has changed actor Willie Garson’s life, and the lives of thousands of children waiting in foster care. Please consider sharing your story about what this one day is like and encourage others to consider adoption from foster care.

Addressing Health Questions for Children of Sperm Donors

The Washington Post ran a story last week about the medical issues facing children conceived by donor sperm.  In “Sperm-donor children face challenges in learning their medical history” the article discusses the relatively unregulated industry of sperm donation, and the ways that some cryobanks are implementing best practices for screening and updating medical history of their donors. 

The first documented generation of donor-conceived children - those born in the late 1970s to mid 1980s, are all grown up and beginning to have medical questions that may only be answered by the donor whose sperm they were conceived with.  Caring for children of sperm donors has prompted a host of unanticipated issues, ranging from lack of medical histories to the psychological impact of knowing the circumstances of their conception. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 percent of babies born today in the United States are conceived through assisted reproductive technology, a proportion that has more than doubled since 1999.  Anonymous sperm donation represents only a portion of these births, and solid statistics on how many children are conceived this way are unavailable because mothers are not required to report how they become pregnant. 

In most states, adults who were conceived through sperm donation have no legal right to records about their donor.  Before 2005, when the Food and Drug Administration issued donor screening rules - specifying, for example that sperm be tested for communicable diseases - there were no federal regulations of sperm banks.

If you are working with a known sperm donor, the following steps will help you screen, document and update the donor’s medical history:

  • Have the donor answer an extensive questionnaire regarding family and personal medical history.  Make sure to discuss any instances of heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc. 
  • Have the donor undergo extensive blood tests to determine any genetic predisposition to disease.  
  • Meet with the donor and a genetics counselor to discus the results of the blood test and determine the risks posed to your future child.  
  • Have the donor meet with a psychologist to receive a thorough mental health evaluation.  
  • Follow the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s guidelines and quarantine the donor sperm for 6 months prior to using it for fertilization.  
  • Hire an attorney to draft a sperm donor agreement that addresses the donor’s willingness to be contacted in the future regarding medical questions or concerns.  Establish a method of contacting each other in case of emergency of the need to update each other’s medical history.  
  • Keep the lines of communication open.  Many sperm donor’s are willing to be contacted as some point in the future if it is a medical necessity.  Discuss this with your donor and talk about how often, and under what circumstances you will contact him, if at all. 
  • Above all, a solid agreement is an essential element of a healthy relationship between a sperm donor and the intended parent(s).

Have questions about sperm donation?  Call 310.598.6428 or email

New York Magazine Asks: Is there anything wrong with being 53 and pregnant?

The cover of this month’s New York Magazine pictures a pregnant woman in her 50s looking at the camera with a gaze daring the reader to make a judgment on her age, her fertility and her role in society.

The story centers around Ann Maloney (48 years old) and John Ross (57 years old) who met, fell in love and decided to start a family.  

Odds that a woman over 45 will get pregnant in the no-tech way are dauntingly low.  And donor eggs result in live births about 60 percent of the time, no matter how old the mother-to-be is.  But clinics set various age cutoffs, and when Maloney and Ross were attempting to conceive, she was 48, which represented the outer limit of most clinics and physicians. 

Eventually, Columbia University took the couple on and Ann Maloney gave birth to Isabella in February, 2001 - “a blissful event followed by severe postpartum depression followed by the hormonal rages that accompany the onset of menopause”.  Mahoney gave birth to her second child, Lily, when she was 52.  This time, Maloney had to be brought out of menopause with hormones before she could get pregnant.  

The age of first motherhood is rising all over the West.  In Italy, Germany, and Great Britain, it’s 30.  In the U.S. it’s gone up to 25 from 21 since 1970, and in New York State, it’s even higher, at 27. But among the middle-aged, births aren’t just inching up.  They are booming.  In 2008, the most recent year for which detailed data are available, about 8,000 babies were born to women 45 or older, more than double the number in 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Five hundred and forty-one of these were born to women age 50 or older - a 375 percent increase.  In adoption, the story is the same.  Nearly a quarter of adopted children in the U.S. have parents more than 45 years older than they are.  

Are you a woman over forty working with an egg donor?  Make sure you have an airtight agreement reviewed by an attorney, and proper medical testing conducted by a qualified licensed physician.  Contact us to schedule a consultation.  310.598.6428 or

Click here to read the entire story on


A Touching Surrogacy Story From The UK

It's a gloomy day here in Southern California, but this story of a surrogate and the couple she carried two children for, will brighten anyone's day.  Commercial surrogacy is illegal in the UK, but medical expenses, some living expenses and lost wages are permissible.  Interested in an international surrogacy arrangement?  Call our office to schedule a consultation at 310.598.6428.

Click here to read this story that ran in today's Telegraph

How LGBT Parents Can Help With Their Children's Education

As we find ourselves in the beginning of another school year, The Family Equality Council is trying to raise funds and awareness about issues surrounding children of LGBT households and issues that they face in school.  

In a publication entitled “Opening Doors: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents and Schools” the Family Equality Council discusses the role LGBT parents can play in their child’s education as well as helping to open the door to a safe, more inclusive world for all families.  

Making schools a safe place for all children is a complex task and has far reaching implications.  Now is the right time to consider the issues of LGBT-headed families, as many school systems are examining their policies and practices and officially declare that they will not tolerate discrimination.  

Especially helpful for this time of year, there is a section of the booklet titled; “How LGBT Parents Can Help With Their Children’s Education” and we’ve reprinted the following tips below.  For more stories from children, parents, teachers, facts and information, click here to view the entire booklet on the Family Equality website.  

Determine your level of comfort in being open.  For a variety of reasons including custody issues, job security and personal safety; you may choose to be less open.  Become as empowered and informed as you can so that when an opportunity arises you will be prepared to take a step.  

Be as open as possible about your relationship.  School personnel cannot be supportive of family constellations about which they have no knowledge.  If you choose to label the other same-sex adult as an “aunt”, “roommate”, etc., the school will not know there are LGBT-headed families in the school or community and they may see no reason to incorporate any information about them into the curriculum.  

Find a way to contribute to your children’s school community.  The single best way to become accepted in a school community is to establish a presence within it.  Devote as much time as you can spare - at least a few hours over the course of the school year - to PTA meetings, committees, classrooms, trips, tutoring or potlucks.  Let people get to know you and your children as individuals.  Don’t be limited by labels or stereotypes.  

Provide your children’s school with appropriate language and resources.  Tell the teachers who is in your family and the names your children use to identify them and provide a glossary of correct terms for LGBT families.  Give the library a list of books, videos, and other educational materials and encourage school administrators and librarians to purchase these materials for the school.  

Seek to create support from other LGBT parents and/or organizations.  You may find that you are not the only LGBT parent(s) in the school or in the area.  You may believe you are, but if your relationship is hidden, the same may be true for others.  To get a list of local organizations and family activities, visit the Family Equality Council website at

Advocate for your child, but do so in a manner that respects the world of the school personnel.  Schools have hundreds of children to educate, ever-shrinking budgets to juggle and people’s careers to manage.  Most schools want to accommodate all children and all families in the best way possible, but please keep in mind that your child’s needs are not the school’s only concern.  Also remember that ignorance does not necessarily equal homophobia or transphobia; just because a school hasn’t addressed LGBT family issues, doesn’t mean it won’t address them if asked to.  If you approach educators with information, confidence and patience, they are much more likely to be receptive to your messages than if you charge in with anger and defensiveness. 

Be sensitive to the ever-changing needs of your child.  At some point children need to be given a certain amount of control over what, when and to whom things are said.  Pay attention to his/her signals and consult with your child/ren about these issues.  

For more information about LGBT legal issues including domestic partnerships, domestic partner adoption, parenting plans, custody matters or domestic partnership dissolution, call our office at 310.598.6428 or email  

More Unwed Parents Live Together, Report Finds

The number of Americans who have children and live together without marrying as increased twelvefold since 1970, according to a report that was recently released by the University of Virginia.  This new generation of children is more likely to have unmarried parents than divorced parents.  

The report was published by the National Marriage Project, and the Institute for American Values, two partisan groups that advocate for strengthening the institution of marriage.  

The report cites data from the Census Bureau as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and includes work from 18 researches who study family issues.  

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, part of the Centers for Disease Control, 42 percent of children have lived with co-habitating parents by age 12, far more than the 24 percent whose parents have divorced. 

Read the full article on

Are you "thinking"?

Many women contact our office who are "thinking" of using an anonymous or known sperm donor to start or grow their family.  We've come across a few wonderful sites that offer a great community and fantastic support network.  

Check out:

Have questions about using a known or anonymous donor?  Not sure what needs to be in your contract with a known donor?  Contact us for a complimentary consultation by calling 310.598.6428 or send an email to  


A Texas Mother is Closer to Creating her Late Son’s Child

Much debate surrounds this issue of using someone’s sperm posthumously but it usually involves a husband or partner who has passed away.  In this case, it is a mother who is seeking to conceive a child by collecting her son’s sperm while he lay in a coma and on life support.  

According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, 44-year-old Marissa Evans has found a surrogate in Mexico who is willing to carry her grandchild.  She has also hand-selected an egg donor from a list of potential candidates and now must only secure the financing to proceed with her plan.  

In 2009, Evans’ son, 21-year-old Nikolas Evans, sustained a head injury while trying to break up a fight in Austin where he fell, hit his head and lost consciousness.

The article on cited Tom Mayo, director of Southern Methodist University’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, agrees with the sentiment.  Mayo told the Associated Press in 2009 that the desire to replace a deceased child is a classic scenario that, in this case, took a nontraditional turn.  

“This is a tough way for a kid to come into the world.  As the details emerge, and the child learns more about their origins, I just wonder what the impact will be on a replacement child,” said Mayo.  

The United States does not have specific legislation regarding the rights of men on gamete donation following their death, which leaves the decision in the hands of individual clinics and hospitals.  As such, many medical institutions implement in-house policies regarding circumstances in which the procedure would be performed.  

Many ethical issues surround the extraction and use of gametes from cadavers or patients in a persistent vegetative state.  The most debated are those concerning religion, consent, and the rights of the surviving partner and child if the procedure results in a birth.

This complex legal issue can arise in a variety of circumstances.  For a more information and to schedule a consultation with Kesten Law, please call 877-887-4403 or email  

Generation X and the Case for Collaborative Divorce


Likening the question of “When did your parents get divorced?” to other generational defining moments such as “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” a recent Wall Street Journal article discusses the impact of divorce on Generation X.

According to the article, divorce rates peaked around 1980 and are now at their lowest level since 1970.  The U.S. Census released data this May indicating that 77% of couples who married since 1990 have reached their 10-year anniversaries.  

The census data also indicates that people are marring later in life, if at all.  The average marrying age in 1950 was 23 for men and 20 for women; in 2099, it was 28 for men and 26 for women.  

Another possible factor is the social acceptance of cohabitation before marriage.  A 2007 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that, among those entering first marriages in the early 2000s, nearly 60% had previously cohabitated with their future spouses.  According to the U.S. government’s 2002 National Survey of Fertility Growth, 34% of couples who move in together have announced publicly that marriage is in the future; 36% felt “almost certain” that they’d get hitched, while 46% said there was “a pretty good chance” or a “50-50 chance.”

It seems that not only are marriage statistics in a fluid state, but so are traditional roles in the marital home.  Sociologists, anthropologist and other cultural observers tell us that members of Generation X are more emotionally invested in our spouses than previous generations were, and Generation X spouses are best friends and genuine partners.  Many studies have found that Generation X family men help around the house a good deal more than their forefathers.  A 2003 study by the late psychologist Shirley Glass found that the mores of sexual infidelity are undergoing a profound change.  The traditional standard for men - love is love and sex is sex - is dying out.  

The writer of the WSJ article talks about her own divorce and how she and her former husband wanted to do it as “well” as possible.  In the writer’s mind, this meant a “friendly divorce”, one that is relatively inexpensive and non-adversarial.  

This so called “friendly divorce” otherwise known as “collaborative divorce” is more common now than ever.  Many Generation X spouses are all too familiar with the brutal court fights their parents endured and have no intention of putting themselves or their children through the same battle.  According to a recent University of Virginia study, couples who decide to mediate their divorce are more likely than those who go to court to talk regularly about the children’s needs and problems, to participate in school and special events, daily activities, holidays and vacations.  

While it was once typical for dads to “recede from family life, or drop out altogether, in the wake of divorce”, it is now common for dad’s to have joint physical and/or legal custody and play an equally important role in the lives of their children post divorce.  

Joint custody not only helps the parents but can also reduce family strife.  According to a 2001 study, couples with such arrangements report less conflict with their former spouses than sole-custody parents. 

Click here for the full text of the Wall Street Journal Article, “The Divorce Generation”

For more information about collaborative divorce or to make an appointment to speak with a collaborative divorce attorney in Los Angeles or Marin County, please call 877.887.4403 or email



Domestic Partner Adoption in California

Our clients often ask us the question, "Do I need to adopt my domestic partner's child?"  The answer can be complex and and the law is not fully settled in California.  In order to obtain full legal parental rights, we strongly advise our clients to adopt their domestic partner's child or children, especially if the child was born to their domestic partner before their partnership was registered.  

The current state of the law in California provides for a presumption that a child born into a domestic partnership is the legal child of both domestic partners, regardless of their biological connection to the child. Both partners can be included on the child's birth certificate in the hospital, and in theory, both partners have the same legal rights and obligations to the child.  

However, because the law in California is unsettled and federal laws as well as many other state laws do not recognize domestic partnership rights, Kesten Law strongly recommends that domestic partners obtain a court judgment declaring both partners to be the child's legal parents.  This can be accomplished through a domestic partner adoption.  This judgment is extremely important and critical to ensure that the child's legal relationship with both parents will be respected by other states and the federal government.  It is also important to help eliminate the possibility of conflict and litigation over this issue if the domestic partners separate in the future or if one partner should pass away.  Finally, this is a crucial step in proactively addressing any future issues that may arise with contesting individuals.  

If you have any questions regarding domestic partnership law or adoption in California, please click here to contact our office.  


"Bust a Myth" during National Infertility Awareness Week

 In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, Resolve is sponsoring a nationwide movement to “Bust a Myth” about infertility.

According to the website, 1 in 8 women and men are diagnosed with infertility.  RESOLVE and the infertility community are busing myths and telling truths about the most popular public myths and misconceptions about the disease of infertility and the different ways people build their families. 

 Click here to see how you can bust a myth about infertility.  

Click here for a calendar of events for National Infertility Awareness Week.  

Read the voices of infertility by clicking here.  

Would you like to share your infertility story?  Click here to share your journey.  

Conversation Checklist for Intended Parent(s) and Sperm Donor


When an intended parent(s) is hoping to work with a "known" or anonymous sperm donor, there are many detailed and complex issues that can arise during the donation process as well as many years into the future.  

Our clients often ask for a checklist of common issues that may arise during the donation process, so we've compiled a list of some of the most important topics that need to be addressed between the intended parent(s) and sperm donor.  The list can be found on our website by clicking here and also copied below. If you think we missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know!  

Important Disclaimer:  This list is provided by Kesten Law for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a legal guide and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  The topics listed below are purely representative in nature and this is not in any way intended to be a comprehensive list of issues that may arise in an agreement between a sperm donor and the intended parent(s) or any other interested parties.  Every relationship and situation is unique and different, and the advice of qualified legal counsel is necessary to establish your rights for your specific arrangement.  

  • Name of party(ies) who will become inseminated with the donor sperm?  
  •  Is the party(ies) who will be inseminated with the donor sperm an intended parent?
  • Will the sperm be utilized to conceive a child by inseminating a surrogate?
  • Who will be the intended parent(s) of the child(ren) conceived with the donor sperm?
  • If there is more than one intended parent, what is the relationship between the intended parents?  Married?  Registered domestic partners?
    • If there is no legal relationship between the intended parents, will the non-carrying parent legally adopt the child(ren) conceived with use of the donor sperm?
      • If not, will there be a written agreement between the intended parents regarding right, obligations and/or limitations?
    • Will there be a separate, written agreement between the intended parents regarding parental roles, rights and responsibilities regardless of the legal relationship between the intended parents?
  • What, if any, estate planning has been considered and/or implemented to protect parental rights, custody and assets?
  • Who will donate the sperm?  Is it an anonymous donor? A known donor?
    • If working with a known donor, what is the relationship between the donor and the intended parent(s)?  
    • Was their an existing relationship prior to the agreement to donate sperm?  If so, how long have the parties known each other?
    • Has the donor donated sperm to other intended parent(s)?
      • If so, have the parents registered their information with a sibling registry?
      • Will you, as the intended parent(s) register with a sibling registry?
    • Does the sperm donor and the intended parent(s) have mutual friends or share a social circle?  
      • If so, have the parties discussed confidentiality?  
      • What level of confidentiality do each of the parties desire?  
      • How will this be addressed?  
      • Will there be a formal confidentiality agreement?  
    • What is the extent of the conversations that have taken place between the sperm donor and the intended parent(s)?  
  • The American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines state that to provide maximum protection to the intended parent(s) and child(ren), that the sperm be frozen and quarantined for a period of six months before the intended mother’s eggs are inseminated.  However, the parties may agree to waive this guideline and instead use the exception to the guidelines for known sperm donors which do not require a six month quarantine period.  
    • Has this been discussed?  What is the agreed upon quarantine period?
  • At what point will the donor relinquish control over the donor sperm?  
    • At the point of deposit with a sperm bank of fertility clinic?  
    • At the point of insemination?  
    • It is critical for the parties to address this question to avoid any disagreements regarding the disposition of the fetus should the intended mother experience difficulties with the pregnancy.   
  • Do all parties to this agreement understand that the law in California regarding children conceived by sperm donation from a known donor may not provide clear guidelines regarding support and custody of a child, and therefore, each party agrees to cooperate to complete all documents and/or actions that may be legally necessary or advisable to establish the intended parent(s) as the legal parent of any child conceived as a result of this arrangement?  
  • Does the intended sperm donor agree not to contest the intended parent(s) right to be the sole legal parent(s) of the child?
  • Does the intended parent(s) agree not to seek child support or financial obligations for the child from the sperm donor?
  • Does the sperm donor agree not to seek custody rights to the child?  
    • Does sperm donor agree that if he seeks any rights to the child, whether financial, legal, custodial or otherwise, that he is doing so in violation of the terms of the proposed agreement between sperm donor and intended parent(s) and therefore all court costs, legal fees and expenses of all parties shall be the responsibility of sperm donor?
  • Is the sperm donor free from serious medical and/or psychological problems that could cause any difficulties?
  • Does the intended parent(s) anticipate any future involvement with child rearing from the donor?  If so, what type of relationship will the donor have with the child(ren)?
  • What does the intended parent(s) expect from the donor?  
  • What does the donor expect of the intended parent(s)?
  • What financial compensation has been agreed upon?  
    • How was this agreement reached?  
    • Are all parties in agreement that this will be the final and complete compensation and there will be no future compensation?
  • What does the intended parent(s) want the donor to disclose to his friends and family?  
  • What does the donor want to disclose to his friends and family?  
    • If there are differences of opinion regarding what information will be disclosed, how will this be handled?
  • What kind of relationship does the intended parent(s) have with the donor now, and do the parties foresee a relationship in the future?  If so, what will it look like?
  • What information about the donor will be disclosed to the child(ren)?  
    • How?  
    • When?
  • Will the donor cooperate if any legal proceedings are needed with regard to establishing parental rights?
  • If the sperm donor plans to donate sperm again, will he register with a donor registry?
  • Will the intended parent(s) register with a sibling registry so that the child(ren) conceived using donor sperm will have access to possible siblings?
  • Why is the sperm donor interested in donating?
  • Has there been a formal background investigation?  
    • If so, are there any red flags that need to be discussed with the donor or a professional?
  • Has there been an informal background investigation?  
    • If so, what has been discovered?  
    • What has been verified?  
    • Is there any information that needs to be further investigated either formally or informally?
  • Have there been any discrepancies in the information given by the donor and the information discovered through a formal or informal background investigation?
  • Will you agree on a dispute resolution clause?  i.e. If there is a dispute in the future regarding this arrangement, will the parties agree to mediation or arbitration rather than litigation?



Breaking the Silence Around Infertility

This morning on The Today Show, Alisyn Camerota opened up about her struggle with fertility and the solace she found by attending support groups and talking with women who were facing similar situations.  

The Today Show cited a national study conducted by the National Survey of Family Growth that found that 1 in 8 couples face infertility.  However, many say this subject is still taboo and face this often emotionally crippling struggle in silence and solitude.  

Cameroda says she didn't want to talk about it with her friends, her family, even her own mother.  "It's an embarrassing disorder . . . when I found a support group, it was the only moment that I felt solace." Cameroda confessed on Today.

A recent study from Harvard University's medical school found that support groups can more than double the chances of conceiving for women struggling with fertility -- from 20 percent to 54 percent.

"This information is incredibly encouraging in terms of the importance of emotional support," said Linda Applegarth of the Cohen-Perelman Center for Reproductive Medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.

Kesten Law offers a full spectrum of legal services for those working with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). If you are looking for an egg donation lawyer, sperm donation lawyer or surrogacy lawyer in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, please contact us via email at or 310.598.6428.  

To find a support group near you, contact RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association at 

To view the segment from the Today Show, please click on the following link: 


Woman implanted with wrong embryo tells her story of love and loss

This morning on the Today Show, there was an interview with Carolyn Savage, a woman who was an accidental surrogate of sorts to another couple's child.

After undergoing IVF treatments, Carolyn and her husband were accidentally implanted with the embryos from another family. Upon discovering the news that she was carrying another person's child, Carolyn made the decision to move forward with the pregnancy and carry the baby to term for the intended family.

In an amazing story of love, generosity and family, Carolyn and her husband recount the experience in their new book "Inconceivable".  Essentially acting as an accidental surrogate, Carolyn writes about carrying another woman's child and the post traumatic stress disorder she was diagnosed with after birth.


Oprah's Half Sister Given Up for Adoption When Oprah was 7

When Oprah Winfrey was 9 years old and living with her father in Tennessee, her mother became pregnant with a daughter who was given up for adoption.  This was forty-seven years ago.

Oprah revealed on her talk show the “family secret” and introduced her half-sister, Patricia.

In October of 2010, the two sisters were reunited after Patricia embarked on a long search to find her biological family.  “It was one of the greatest surprises of my life,” said Winfrey.  “It left me speechless.”  

Patricia was born in 1963 in Milwaukee and lived in a series of foster homes until the age of 7.  She was then adopted, but said her childhood was “difficult” and she longed to be reunited with her birth mother.  

When Patricia was 17, she had a daughter, Aquarius, and then six years later, she had her son, Andre.  She was unwed and as a single mom, worked two jobs to provide for her family.  

When Oprah first heard that she might have a half-sister who was given up for adoption, she confronted her mother and asked for the truth.  her mother denied that she had a daughter and refused to discuss it further.

Finally, when DNA evidence proved that Patricia and Oprah were half sisters, Oprah’s mother admitted that she had, in fact, given up her daughter for adoption.  The three were reunited on Thanksgiving Day when Oprah drove to her mother’s home in Milwaukee, where Patricia was waiting.  

Click here to read the full story on  

New LGBT-Friendly Hospital Visitation Regulations Go Into Effect

New regulations regarding hospital visitation rights for the LGBT community and their families went into effect yesterday. 

Under the new protocol, hospitals partaking in Medicare and Medicaid must allow all patients to decide visitation rights, as well as who to entrust with making medical decisions on their behalf, regardless of sexual or gender identity.  

"This policy impact millions of LGBT Americans and their families.  The President saw an injustice and felt very strongly about correcting this and has spoken about it often over the years," White House deputy director of public engagementBrian Bond wrote on the White House blog.  

President of Human Rights Campain, Joe Solmonese expressed gratitude for President Obama and his administration taking action on changing this policy.

"LGBT people experience discrimination in many aspects of their lives, but it is perhaps at its worst during times of crisis," Solomonese said.  "We thank President Obama and HHS Secretary Sebelius for recognizing the hardships LGBT people face and taking this important step toward ensuring that no one will be turned away from a partner's hospital bedside again."  

New LGBT-Friendly Hospital Visitation Regulations Go Into Effect.

5th Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear Case of Gay Dad's Names on Birth Certificate

Tomorrow a court of 16 federal appeals judges will decide whether Louisiana must put both parents’ names on birth certificates of children adopted by gay couples.  

Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith of San Diego are hoping that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold a unanimous three-judge ruling and a district judge’s decision that both of their names must go on their son’s birth certificate.  Adar and Smith adopted a boy who was born in Shreveport in late 2005.  The two were living in Connecticut at the time and went to Louisiana to meet the mother, who gave them legal custody soon after his birth.  They adopted him in April 2006 in New York state.

Currently, the vital records laws in Louisiana do not permit for the inclusion of names of unmarried couples, who cannot adopt together in Louisiana regardless of sexual orientation.  

Similar cases have been considered in Virginia and Mississippi where the adoptive parents prevailed and their names were placed on the birth certificates.  

The Golden Globes - A Night to Celebrate Lesbian Families and Gay Youth

The Golden Globes was certainly a night celebrate gays and lesbians.

As gay, lesbian and single-parent families become an increasingly large part of the everyday American family, it is wonderful to see Hollywood acknowledge films that pay tribute to these family dynamics and watch the actors portray the emotional turmoil that can often exist.

Highlighting lesbian family life, Annette Bening took home a major win for her work in “The Kids Are All Right”, co-starring Julianne Moore.  The film stars Bening and Moore as a lesbian couple who created their family using a known sperm donor.  When their teen children seek out the sperm donor that fathered them, their family falls into turmoil.

“I’m very proud to be a part of this very special film about two women who are deeply in love and try to keep their family together,” Bening said.

Jane Lynch was also a part of the celebration of lesbian families as she acknowledged her wife Lara Embry in her thank you speech for her award winning performance in "Glee".

Chris Colfer took home an award for his role of Kurt in “Glee” where he portrays a young gay man struggling with his identity and bullying in his high school.  In his speech, Colfer encouraged any kid that is being bullied to “Screw that!” With the recent news of tragic bullying-related suicides, it is heart-warming to see young Hollywood help fight the abuse.