Around the corner from our office in Boston, a rainbow flag was raised on Friday, marking the start of Boston Pride and the first day of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month across the nation. Pride celebrations have been held here in Boston and across the globe for over forty years. In 2012, there is a lot to celebrate.
The year has already seen advances for the LGBT community, for same-sex couples, for families of gay and lesbian parents, and for those considering parenthood through surrogacy or adoption. Last week, a federal appeals court a mile away from City Hall Plaza, where the rainbow flag now flies, struck a blow against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—the federal law that limits the government’s view of marriage to unions between one man and one woman.
“Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” states the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The appeals court stayed its decision, leaving the law intact for the time being and paving the way for a likely resolution by the Supreme Court.
The court’s decision, however, reflects the reality that DOMA hurts families headed by same-sex couples, including those who choose gestational surrogacy as their path to parenthood. The law denies thousands of federal marriage benefits to those married in states like Massachusetts, New York and a handful of other states where same-sex marriages are permitted. But the recent court decision affirmed an earlier ruling which strikes down a portion of the law. Meanwhile, among the American public, support for marriage equality is at an all-time high following President Obama’s endorsement on May 9.
President Obama’s announcement, the recent appeals court decision striking, and the growing support for marriage equality are important developments for many of Circle’s parents and intended parents in committed and loving relationships with members of the same sex. While none of these events address gestational surrogacy directly, they represent steps toward equality for families of all backgrounds and make-ups, whether they are headed by moms or dads or mom and dad.
Pride is a time for celebrating diversity, for educating others, and, since its inception in the Stonewall uprising of 1969, for taking pride in how far the LGBT community has come while reflecting on how far is left to go. Circle Surrogacy celebrates national LGBT Pride Month and looks forward to the day when couples and individuals of all backgrounds can build families with the confidence that they are viewed as equal under the eyes of the law.