Vermont Parentage Act Protects the Future of Modern Families
Vermont Passes H.562
Vermont joined the ranks of US states updating parentage laws to accommodate gestational surrogacy with the Vermont Parentage Act. A long time proponent of modern families, Vermont was the first state to recognize civil unions in 2000. With the passage of H.562, it became the second state in the country to pass a version of the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act.
The legislation is modeled after the Uniform Parentage Act, as well as a Maine law that creates a standard for determining when a person not otherwise considered a legal parent can be declared one. According to the legislation, this includes:
- Giving birth to a child
- Adopting a child
- Signing a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage of a child
- Being a de facto parent of a child
- Consenting to assisted reproduction or a gestational carrier agreement (surrogacy)
House Judiciary Committee Chair Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, and sponsor of the bill said, “State law has simply not kept pace with the myriad of ways in which Vermonters become parents.”
An Ongoing Battle
In December, the Vermont Supreme Court allowed a woman to seek shared custody of her adopted daughter. Her former partner was the legally adoptive parent due to legal and logistical reasons, but they had been raising the child together.
It was the third case in the past decade where the court was asked to get involved in this type of custody battle. Grad and several family law attorneys worked together to find sponsors to modernize Vermont’s laws, which also needed to address the legal issues surrounding parentage in assisted fertility cases.
Now, the Vermont Parentage Act supports and legally recognizes all the ways modern families are built – whether it’s through birth, adoption, assisted reproduction or surrogacy. We applaud the state’s action and celebration of family diversity.
As Patricia Crozier, Senior Staff Attorney at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) so accurately stated in a press release, “There is nothing more central to the well-being of children than securing these critical relationships. We urge states across the country to follow Vermont’s lead and ensure robust, equal protections for children and families by adopting the 2017 Uniform Parentage Act.”