As the only national organization expressly dedicated to advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ families, Family Equality works to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals can form and sustain loving families. From filing legal briefs that defend the rights of LGBTQ+ parents and children, to leading national campaigns that seek to eradicate discrimination, Family Equality has led the nation in love and validation of all types of families.
Christopher and his partner spent more than four years trying to adopt a young person in foster care, but were turned away because they were a same-sex couple.
According to Christopher, "We could have provided him a loving, stable, financially secure home. Instead, he is likely to age out of foster care without a family. Discrimination robbed him of a family to rely on."
In late August 2020, Family Equality submitted a Supreme Court brief filled with real-life stories of discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people in 'Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.' We are the voice of LGBTQ+ families in our nation's highest court.
Our Every Child Deserves a Family campaign promotes the best interests of all children in the foster care and adoption system through state and federal policy. The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) was introduced in both the House and the senate in May 2020, and the passage of this legislation will have a profound impact on the 400,000+ youth in the child welfare system. ECDF prohibits discrimination at every stage of the adoption and foster care system, and also classifies conversion therapy as discrimination, thereby prohibiting its application to the vulnerable youth in care.
LGBTQ+ families need ECDF. Currently, eleven states explicitly allow an agency to turn away prospective foster and adoptive parents/caregivers who do not meet an agency’s religious requirements, and in eight of those states this is true even where an agency receives taxpayer funds. This state-sanctioned discrimination harms LGBTQ+ children and youth who do not receive affirming services and placements, and it harms all children by reducing the number of available temporary or permanent homes.
In addition to legal advocacy, Family Equality also connects and supports LGBTQ+ families. Though in-person events are not possible, LGBTQ+ families still need the community spaces, resources, and family-friendly activities. Family Equality has stepped up to continue to provide that, and more, for families around the country. With The Neighborhood: A Virtual Hub for LGBTQ+ Families, Family Equality creates community spaces and online tools. The Neighborhood offers LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them a robust calendar of activities, panels, and peer support spaces.
Next year we look forward to returning to co-host our signature event, Family Week, in Provincetown, MA – the largest gathering of LGBTQ+ families in the world. We’ve also grown our National Network of LGBTQ+ Family Groups – launched in 2018 – to over 100 groups, which serves as a resource for tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ families and gives those families the opportunity to connect with one another and educate themselves on issues relevant to their lives. This programming provides vital resources to those who often lack support and community where they live, creating networks of mutual support for LGBTQ+ families across a wide range of backgrounds.