legislative changes

New law could restructure families; aid non-traditional couples

West coast lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would radically change the way that the American family is structured, at least in that state. a State Senator has proposed legislation that would allow courts in his state to recognize more than two people as the legal parents of a given child or children. This change could be applied to both non-traditional couples as well as other family units. The law has not yet made it to a vote, but the concept of augmenting the American family may be welcome news to many same-sex couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The bill is a reaction to a case that has made its way to a state appellate court. The case involved two women who were raising a child together. When one woman was incarcerated and the other hospitalized, their child entered the foster care system. The child’s biological father attempted to gain custody of the child, and was granted custody in a family court proceeding. That decision was overruled, however, when the appellate court ruled that California courts can only recognize two people as parents. Parental status can be gained through biological ties, adoption, or recognized legal contracts, such as in gay partnerships. However, when more than two persons fit the legal description of ‘parent,’ the courts are placed in a difficult position. Those in support of the new law claim that it would allow the courts to use common sense and to apply the best interests of the child approach

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Same-sex couple’s divorce paves way for gay marriage rights

While Massachusetts is a notable exception, most states do not recognize same-sex marriages to be valid. Instead, they often insist that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and impose various legal restrictions to keep it that way. For many same-sex couples living outside of Massachusetts as well as other states that allow gay marriage, this can be a huge source of frustration. Same-sex couples who reside in states who do not recognize their marriage have been caught up in a marital discord limbo while fighting for their rights to divorce. However, there are indications that many states are recognizing the downside to these limitations and are beginning to permit the dissolution of same-sex marriages. Some states are beginning to allow same-sex couples many of the same rights and privileges as the more traditional marriages surrounding issues such as child custody and divorce, among others. States who do not recognize same-sex marriages argue that if they permit a same-sex divorce, by default they are acknowledging the legitimacy of the marriage. In recent news, Maryland’s Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that if a same-sex couple resides in the state and was legally married in another jurisdiction, they can receive a divorce in Maryland. For many supporters of gay marriage, this change is regarded as a victory. After all, they argue that before gay marriage can be legalized for any state, gay marriages must be recognized as valid. They feel that divorce is one way in which a state

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Boston residents learn of one lawmaker’s view on civil unions

With this year’s elections hot on the horizon, many politicians are working the circuit to plug their parties’ political agenda and push new legislation and/or alter existing laws. One of the focus areas for many lawmakers has been the topic of same-sex marriage and divorce. While more states are passing laws to allow same-sex marriage or civil unions, it still remains a heated topic for many states throughout the nation. In New Hampshire, one state lawmaker has his own vision for how to get rid of the 2010 gay marriage law. He has sponsored a new bill that would give voters the opportunity to cast their vote on a nonbinding ballot question. The issue at hand for voters to decide, if his bill passes, is whether New Hampshire should give new life to a 2007 law on civil unions. State Representative David Bates (Rep.) proposes the repeal of the gay marriage law on March 31, 2013, and its replacement by civil unions. These were defined in the law by a 2007 bill. Also, Bates wants to leave it up to NH voters if homosexuals could legally obtain a civil union, but the gay marriage law would cease to exist. In fact, if this amendment went through, the existing definition of marriage would be worded to be “between one man and one woman.” Bates calls the state’s current definition of marriage an “illegitimate definition.” Those against the change feel that the proposal is discriminatory and posed to take away the rights

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