May 08, 2009

Advocacy Group: Atticus Circle

Atticus Circle is a GLBT advocacy group founded by Anne S. Wynne, a straight woman who felt that "as a married woman of three children, I decided to take a stand."

From the Atticus Circle website:

Why We Need Atticus Circle

The Atticus Circle was created because discrimination exists. Same gender couples and their children are being systematically denied the protections and responsibilities afforded to other families.

Research shows that there are over three million gay or lesbian people living in the United States in committed relationships in the same residence.

Here are just a few of the ways discrimination affects the lives of these families:

Because they cannot legally marry, same gender couples are denied the automatic right to function as equal partners parents out in the world - in places such as their child's school or the hospital emergency room. Same gender couples are also denied the right to joint adoption and joint foster care.

The children of same gender couples are denied the guarantee of child support and an automatic legal relationship to both parents - possibly leading to no contact with the parent who is not on the birth certificate.

Health: Unlike spouses, unmarried partners are usually not considered next-of-kin for the purposes of hospital visitation and emergency medical decisions. In addition, they can't cover their families on their health plans without paying taxes on the coverage, nor are they eligible for Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

Same-gender couples are denied the right to inherit from each other like a husband and wife. They are denied the right to receive Social Security survivor benefits. A surviving partner could never file a wrongful death claim, and is not entitled to bereavement leave from work.

It is also worth remembering that there are no "accidental" children in gay and lesbian families. Their families are created with conscious intention. We must honor these relationships by giving them the rights they deserve.

Click here to read more about Atticus Circle, including their new initiative "Sundays of Solidarity."

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