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After a long battle, partners and families of service members are relieved to witness the signing of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the reigning U.S. military policy on gay and lesbian service members.
With events in San Francisco and later, in Washington, D.C., COLAGE celebrates 20 years of advocacy for LGBT families. The Family Time movie premieres at these events.
Just days after former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee disparaged LGBTQ families, a circuit judge struck down the law banning unmarried couples from adopting or foster-parenting children in that state. The Arkansas law was approved by voters in November 2008, during the same election that Californians faced the anti-gay marriage initiative Proposition 8.
In his memorandum, Obama declared that hospitals accepting Medicare or Medicaid funding could not discriminate, and also demanded that the Secretary of Health and Human Services "provide additional recommendations to me, within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, on actions the Department of Health and Human Services can take to address hospital visitation, medical decisionmaking, or other health care issues that affect LGBT patients and their families."
The New York Times reports that same-sex marriage has been legalized in Washington, D.C..
[Photo source: Alex Wong/Getty Images]
Supporters of same sex marriage, including COLAGE representatives, demand that the County Clerk's office in San Francisco issue marriage licenses.
In an article chronicling the life and times of U.S. culture in "The Way We Live Now" series, New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin frames the gay marriage debate in terms of what is good for children, citing some of the most exhaustive research on the subject of LGBT families.
In remarks to the Human Rights Campaign, the President speaks in support of gay rights, including the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and DOMA.
A headline in the "Independent" reads, "Gay men pay US woman to carry twins." Other more sensational headlines include "Fury over gay couple who are having surrogate twins." ("Evening Standard," 09/01/2009.)
In a Department of Justice briefing announcing the dismissal of the "Smelt and Hammer" case, President Barack Obama's Department of Justice stated their position on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and recognized evidence supporting LGBT families. They wrote, "Since DOMA was enacted, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, and the Child Welfare League of America have issued policies opposing restrictions on lesbian and gay parenting because they concluded, based on numerous studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents."
While the briefing also states that the administration disagrees with and will attempt to repeal DOMA, this case was dismissed on other grounds.
[See also: Seaton, Liz. "Despite Court Rejection, a Measure of Progress on DOMA," American Constitution Society Blog, August 25, 2009. http://www.acslaw.org/node/13963.]
The President and First Lady Michelle Obama host a reception for LGBT Pride Month in the East Room of the White House.
The gathering of families in Provincetown for Family Week is the largest yet.
With the help of the ACLU, Martin Gill challenges Florida's longstanding law that bans gay people from adopting. In November 2008, a Florida juvenile court judge ruled that Gill should be able to adopt the two young brothers he and his partner were fostering. However, the state of Florida appealed this decision and so now Martin and his partner are waiting from a decision from Florida's Third District Court of Appeals. [Source: ACLU.]
The President signs a Presidential Memorandum expanding benefits for partners of gay federal employees.
In the proclamation, President Obama states a commitment to furthering the causes that are important to our families, including "enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security." [Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/photogallery/ft-meyers-fl-town-hall.]
Tina Fakhrid-Deen, long time COLAGE leader and founder of the Chicago chapter, is featured in the Chicago Sun-Times. In the article, Fakhrid-Deen says of her 'coming out' experience in college, "Right in front of the library, I just started screaming, 'My mom is gay ... and when you disrespect her, you disrespect me!' That was the moment I forgave her, ... and it was just so liberating."
In the photos: Tina, her mother, Stenovia Jordan, and her daughter, Khari; Orson and his oldest son, Lucas. [Photos by Abel Uribe.]
Lewellen cites a 2005 publication by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as significant in that the field of research on LGBT parenting has shifted since the APA's earlier publication in 1995. Over the course of a decade, numerous studies weilded evidence showing that children raised by LGBT parents are happy, well-adjusted, and no more or less likely to be LGBT themselves than children raised by heterosexual parents. In fact, Lewellen writes, some research points to benefits to children of being raised by LGBT parents, including increased academic confidence and more tolerant, inclusive attitudes and behaviors. COLAGE's online fact sheet is cited in Lewellen's document.
In November 2008, a Florida juvenile court judge rules that Martin Gill should be able to adopt the two young brothers he and his partner were fostering. However, the state of Florida appeals this decision, leaving Martin and his partner awaiting a decision from Florida's Third District Court of Appeals. [Source: ACLU.]
The ACLU of Florida represented father Martin Gill in the four-day trial in Miami that overturned Florida's 30-year-old discriminatory ban on adoption by gays and lesbians. Florida has the broadest anti-gay parenting law in the nation, banning all lesbians and gay men from adopting. This law flies in the face of the recommendations of all the children's health and welfare organizations who recognized that gay people make equally good parents because it reduces the limited pool of potential parents willing to provide permanent homes to children in need. All potential adoptive families are already thoroughly screened before being allowed to adopt. [Source: ACLU Florida, http://www.aclufl.org.]
Brandon Storm of COLAGE speaks on "OutQ in the Morning with Larry Flick" on Sirius. Brandon is a college student from Culver City who was raised by two mothers via a sperm donor. When he was in first grade, Brandon's mothers split up, and at the time of this radio show he also had two step-mothers. Brandon speaks about his experience growing up and working with COLAGE, and his concerns about California Proposition 8, which would overturn the validity of same-sex marriage in California. [Source: Sirius, http://www.siriusoutq.com.]
COLAGE executive director Beth Teper is featured on the front page of the New York Times web site celebrating a California Court ruling striking down two state laws. California temporarily becomes one of two states to allow same-sex marriage.
In 2008, the state Supreme Court ruled the Civil Union law was discriminatory and opened the door for same sex marriage. On air: Anne Stanback, E.D., Love Makes a Family (CT); Kathleen McTigue, Sr. minister, Unitarian Society of New Haven; Carissa Cunningham, pub. affairs dir., GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders); Barb Levine-Ritterman, plaintiff, Kerrigan v. CT Dept. of Public Health. Duration: 28:40. [Source: Women's International News Gathering Service, http://www.wings.org.]
A young and articulate Becca Lazaras explains her family to a talk radio host on WICH-AM in Norwich, Connecticut, exhibiting her life which is pretty much like any other kid, except that her mother passed away and she has two fathers. In the 2000s, COLAGE emphasized media training for young people as a way to empower them to tell their own story from their own perspective to the media without being manipulated or bullied. [Source: WICH-AM, http://www.wich.com.]
By 2006, there are COLAGE chapters and pride parades all over the country, with families taking to the streets together, often walking behind COLAGE banners. Shown here, young people march in the Pride Parade in Madison, Wisconsin.
Deborah Karin Thomas-Jones completes her pHD at Washington State University with this important study on children raised by lesbian parents. The dissertation effectively outlines the most critical issues for LGBT families and children of LGBT parents, and backs up those issues with in-depth research and interviews conducted by Thomas-Jones and others in the field.
In the November-December issue of the "Gay and Lesbian Review," Melissa Hart reflects on her childhood in the 1970s and the COLAGE movement to date.
The San Francisco Bay Times reports, "On Tuesday, wielding signs that read 'Don’t Veto My Family,' dozens of small children of gays and lesbians delivered 40,000 signature cards to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s offices all over the state, asking him to sign the state’s pending first-in-the-nation same-sex marriage bill."
[Photo courtesy Marina Gatto.]
Family Week marks its eighth year of gatherings in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and has become a great tradition for many of the families who attend every year. [Photo by Oren Slozberg, http://www.facebook.com/people/Oren-Slozberg/]
COLAGE celebrates its fifteenth anniversary as an organization. [Photo by Scott Braley, http://www.scottbraley.com.]
In a time when LGBT families are debated and attacked in the media, courts and Congress, from school houses to state houses across the country, five young people from COLAGE give you a chance to walk in their shoes – to hear their own views on marriage, making change, and what it means to be a family. The film "In My Shoes" was directed by Jen Gilomen and produced by COLAGE's Youth Leadership and Action program, and is the first collaboration to precede "Family Time" and this archive.
"In My Shoes" is used in classrooms all across the U.S., and is distributed by Frameline. Two years later, in 2007, the film was a top seller in Frameline's catalogue.
The feature documentary "We Are Dad" chronicles the struggles of the Lofton-Croteaus family in Florida during the early years of the AIDS Pandemic, all the way through their trial, 'Lofton v. The State Of Florida,' which reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. Four of the family's children have HIV/AIDS, three are of mixed race, two are from an Oregon Cult, and one of the kids, Bert, is at the center of one of the most hotly contested legal battles of this decade: gay adoption. Text on the trial: http://www.danpinello.com/Lofton.htm. [Source: Tavroh Films, Inc.]
In 2004, nearly 45% of the U.S. population (128 million people) live in a municipality or state with sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws; about 24% have gender identity nondiscrimination clauses. Other indicators that nondiscrimination are on the rise include the majority of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic partner benefits, and major studies show that a majority of Americans support nondiscrimination.  1. Cahill, Sean. "Same Sex Marriage in the United States: Focus on the Facts," Lexington Books, 2004, p.73-74.
An Arkansas judge states that the Child Welfare Agency Review Board had overstepped its' bounds by attempting to "regulate public morality" rather than by promoting the "health, safety, and welfare of children" when it prohibited gays and lesbians from acting as foster parents in a 1999 ban.
"C RED BLUE J" is an experimental documentary feature that illustrates the complications of division during the 2004 Presidential election as it is manifested in one family. Director Chris Sollars, an artist living and working in San Francisco, set out to bridge the political gaps in his own family between a younger sister who works for the Bush Administration, a Born Again Christian father, and Lesbian mother.
"The New York Times Magazine" features an article by Susan Dominus about coming of age with same-sex parents. The headline reads, "Got a problem with my mothers?"
In a huge blow for gay rights advocates facing similar battles in other states, Missouri voters ban same-sex marriage via an amendment to their state constitution with a 71% to 29% vote in favor of the ban. [Photo source: Dick Whipple / AP.]
"Gay Marriage Ban in Mo. May Resonate Nationwide," by Alan Cooperman, Washington, Thursday, August 5, 2004, Page A02. And "Missouri voters approve gay marriage ban," MSNBC.com, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5592789/.]
The Goodridge family became iconic when they led the fight for marriage equality in Massachusetts. Along with six other couples, they filed suit against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2001 for the right to marry, which they did on May 17, 2004. This article in "People" profiles the couple and the circumstances surrounding their marriage. The couple later divorced in 2009. Although they are no longer married, the couple left a great legacy in their struggle for the right.
[See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/style/weddings-celebrations-hillary-goodridge-julie-goodridge.html and
The state of Oklahoma outlaws the recognition of out-of-state adoptions by gay and lesbian couples. (Though the state does not ban gay and lesbian couples from adopting outright.) This state law goes against the "full faith and credit" law of the U.S. Constitution, which requires reciprocity of recognition of other states' contracts.
Lambda Legal filed suit on September 15, 2004; the amendment to Oklahoma's constitution was overturned on May 19, 2006.
[See also: "Federal District Court Voids Oklahoma’s Anti-Gay Adoption Law," by Susan L. Crockin, J.D., American Society of Reproductive Medicine, ASRM News Summer 2006 Vol 40 No 2.
In September 2002, James Hogue was arrested and jailed for two days for "exposing" his son to his "gay lifestyle" by introducing him to his partner. Two years later, the Tennessee Appeals Court sets this important precendent for non-discrimination in child custody and visitation cases.
Mayor Gavin Newsom allows marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco. The COLAGE office is inundated with calls of joy as marriage madness sweeps the nation. In San Francisco, COLAGE staff travel to city hall to congratulate and support families seeking legal recognition, and couples and families line up around the block of city hall. Within a month, 4000 couples are married until the practice is halted. [Photo by Zak Szymanski]
Updating a 1997 study in which 1,049 such provisions were found, the U.S. General Accounting office tabulates additional federal benefits continent upon marriage. Among them are health services, child and family services, death benefits, senior care, compensation, violence prevention, veteran benefits, insurance, adoption, employment, military service, banking, housing, immigration, and tax benefits. Marriage is codified in nearly every area of our civil code and lives.
"Focus on the Family," the conservative coalition leading campaigns against abortion, condom dissemination, and same-sex couples' rights, buys a full-page ad in the "Boston Globe" attacking gay and lesbian parents. In it, they ask, "Is the same-sex 'family' good for children?" Placing the word 'family' in quotes was their way of invalidating LGBT families. In 2010, the group is still active, backing conservative right-wing politicians and leading these campaigns and others.
COLAGE initiates the Youth Leadership and Action Program (YLAP) under the direction of Program Director Meredith Fenton. In YLAP, high school students worked to create the "Respect All Families" poster series, the "That's So Gay" photo-text art show, and most recently "Focus on MY Family: A Queerspawn Anthology." Each tool is accompanied by curricula for activists and educators.
Ellen Marakowitz publishes an article summarizing all known research to date on gay and lesbian parenting in "Feminist News," published by Columbia University. The article states that the majority of research on the subject finds that A) children of lesbian and gay parents are no more likely to be gay or lesbian themselves than children of heterosexual parents; B) that there were no other significant differences found in those comparative studies; and C) estimates of the number of children with gay and lesbian parents in the U.S. were most commonly agreed to be approximately 1.5 million.
"Abigail Garner was five years old when her parents divorced and her dad came out as gay. As an adult, she writes this practical and useful tome about kids with LGBT parents. Abigail Garner’s book Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is is published by Harper Collins. Garner, a longtime speaker, writer, and activist on behalf of LGBT families had been previously featured in NewsWeek, The Advocate, and NPR. http://familieslikemine.com/"
The court declares that marriage is a civil right that should not be denied to gays and lesbians, and that "civil unions" were "separate and unequal." Harkening to the civil rights debates of previous decades, the ruling also stated that "the history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."
"SJC: Gay marriage legal in Mass. -- Court gives the state six months to comply with ruling," by Kathleen Burge, Boston Globe, November 18, 2003.
[Photo source: AP]
"Hillary Goodridge was denied access to her partner Julie as she underwent the harrowing birth of their daughter Annie in the hospital. The couple sued the department of public health and won in this landmark case that lead to the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts. The decision written by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts states, ""The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens."" [Photo: Eddie Medina / Boston Globe]
A summary and all documents from the case: http://www.glad.org/work/cases/goodridge-et-al-v-dept-public-health/
An audiovisual portrait of the family by the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/special/gay_marriage/multimedia/profiles/gm_audio_gallery.html"
An Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute report, "Adoption by Lesbians and Gays: A National Survey of Adoption Agency Policies, Practices, and Attitude," finds that 60% of U.S. adoption centers accept adoption applications from same-sex couples, and that 40% have placed children in LGBT households.
[See also: A related CBS News report on the study: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/29/national/main580665.shtml.]
In furtherance of his ongoing attack on LGBT families, Bush declares the week of October 12 - 18, 2003 a "Marriage Protection Week," during which legislators were asked to sign a pledge opposing same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnership. During his tenure as president, he opposed marriage equality, gay adoption, nondiscrimination laws, and hate crimes legislation, doing much damage to the movement.
The American Bar Association recommends that all states and courts allow gay, lesbian, and unmarried couples to adopt.