Last week I spent a few days in LA with some of the most amazing people. Hundreds of law students, dozens of practicing attorney’s and a couple handfuls of parents who have fought for their children. We were honored by the Family Law Institute, which is a joint project of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the National LGBT Bar Association. They picked 10 parents and called us Pioneers Parents in the fight for equal rights for ourselves and our children. In telling you this, I’m tooting my own horn. But mostly I’m telling you to brag about the other mother’s & father’s that put their families out there to be shaken by the crazy laws/people that “govern” us.
I got the call about my nomination earlier this year and it took me until about 2 weeks ago to accept. It felt funny to be celebrated over something that hurt so much. I knew, out of all the others, I was the only case that lost. But I found out there were parents there that won their cases but still lost their children. They changed the laws to help everyone that followed them, but still lost their own children. Unbelievable.
Anyway, a week before the ceremony, Cristy and I decided I should go. Sadly, we also decided I would go alone. After taking 4 weeks in July, she doesn’t have any vacay and we didn’t want to leave Glory 2 nights behind without us. I haven’t traveled alone since I used to visit Gracie in San Antonio every other week – many, many years ago – so that just added to my stress about going.
But I did. I got on the plane, held my own hand and had the talk with myself about flying. “it’s going to be fine. the plane will enter the sky and it will also safely land.” I hate flying. I hate flying alone even worse. Anyway, I got there and the shuttle took me to the most amazing hotel in Hollywood. Hotel Renaissance. I had the most lovely room with an amazing view of the city. It was cozy and full of Aveda products. I knew, then, I would be okay.
Many of us already knew (of) each other. Those of us who have cases as old as mine (I’m that kind of pioneer too) even used each other as precedent. It was fun/painful putting faces to things like IK vs MD, for example. Three cases came out of the CA Supreme Court the month ours was heard by the UT Supremes. I got to meet all those women. One was a non-bio mom whose partner had taken her child after they broke up. One was a bio mother whose partner left her after she gave birth to twins. And one was a mother whose partner took their child after she was the egg donor for her partner. All of them won. All of those amazing women fought and won and now have their children/child support/etc. Meeting them, after feeling so close to them, felt fantastic! There were also two fathers who had to fight for their children after divorcing their ex-wives. It made me realize how far we haven’t come – that a biological father can still lose their children just because of stereotypes. Another woman changed the laws in her State (OR) so now if you participate in AI with your partner – having intent to parent – you are automatically a legal parent. Just like that she saved so many people from fighting this fight in her State. Brilliant and Brave.
We had a “round table” with the attorney’s to talk about our cases – things we’ve been through and new ideas. Most parents had been through bankruptcy. One mother suffered two heart attacks. Many had received death threats and hate mail – on top of what you go through in court. Story after story of parents loving their children enough to move heaven & earth to have them home again.
We all participated in a lovely luncheon and were presented awards by people we admire more than all the earth. Some of my biggest hero’s were there to cheer us on and it just filled me all the way full to be surrounded by such strength.
My love to all of you who are fighting the fight – yours or someone you love. Here is a link the new Standards for LGBT Families introduced at the conference. – hopefully followed by LGBT parents, family law attorney’s, OBGYN’s, etc. If you have any need for hard copies, let me know. I’ll gladly make sure you get them.
Me and my fancy certificate
A group shot with all the families & attys!
The West Coast'ish Moms
One of my most favorite men in all the earth!