BY Advocate.com Editors
August 31 2002 12:00 AM ET
HRC releases custody survey
The Human Rights Campaign on Friday unveiled an online survey of custody and visitation laws affecting gay and lesbian parents nationwide. The state-by-state survey is the first of its kind to examine gay and lesbian custody and visitation laws and reveals trends that support
fair-minded laws for gay parenting.
"We found that many states are taking important steps toward equality in their laws affecting LGBT custody and visitation rights," said Lisa Bennett, who runs HRC FamilyNet, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's family project. "In contrast, states that discriminate against LGBT parents not only disregard the advice of all leading child welfare organizations, they are increasingly standing alone in their prejudices."
According to the survey, posted on HRC FamilyNet at www.hrc.org/familynet, 21 states and the District of Columbia have good records in custody and visitation disputes involving same-sex parents--meaning that courts in those states generally do not discriminate based on the sexual orientation of the parents or that the states have laws prohibiting such discrimination. Among the states with the best records: New Jersey, Delaware, and Washington State.
In contrast, nine states have bad records, with Alabama, North Carolina, and Utah ranking among the worst. The remainder have mixed or unclear records. "The trend is going in the right direction," Bennett said. "But that is a small consolation for parents and children who in some states continue to be torn apart by the heartlessness of prejudice. We still have a long way to go to achieve the justice all our families deserve."