Attorney Deb Guston shares her work in marriage equality and adoption laws for the LGBTQ+ community, assisting over 1,000 couples in building their families. The conversation also touches on the importance of inclusion and the conflict between civil society and religious expression when it comes to adoption policies. The discussion includes the history of marriage equality laws as well as their impact on adoption rights.
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About Deb Guston
Deb Guston is a NJ attorney. Her practice focuses on family formation through adoption and assisted
reproduction and family protection through estate planning, guardianships and other family-affirming
areas of law. She has been an advocate for LGBTQ families for 30+ years and is an author of NJ’s
gestational carrier agreement law; a law streamlining confirmation of parentage for non-genetic/nongestational parents and laws expanding fertility access insurance coverage.
More About Marriage Equality and LGBTQ Adoption
Marriage equality has allowed LGBTQ couples to jointly adopt, a privilege previously restricted to only married couples in some states. However, each state has its own individual policies and laws regarding adoption. Queer couples often face difficulties in the adoption process due to limited availability of adoptable children, with most infants being less available. Birth parents are more involved in selecting an adoptive family for their child than before, leading to greater openness in adoption. Queer couples are often preferred by birth parents due to various reasons such as a desire to have the child’s only mother be female or wanting to avoid contact with men.
In addition to adoption, proving parentage for same-sex couples can often be a complicated and expensive process. Deb and her colleague wrote a statute that makes it easier for same-sex couples who were married when their child was born, making the process of proving parentage easier, faster, quicker, and cheaper for same-sex couples. The statute has reached many people who were hesitant to prove their parentage due to complications, and as a result, they can now secure their parental rights, a significant win for the queer community.
This episode touches on an array of topics, including political pressures limiting the numbers of international adoptions, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on access to contraceptives, and the fear-mongering tactics used by politicians and others to serve their personal gain. Despite the challenges, there is hope, as young people are pushing the boundaries of gender, presenting themselves as non-binary, gender non-conforming, queer, and LGBT.
In addition, listerns will learn legal advocacy and activism have undoubtedly helped the queer community gain significant progress but there is still work to be done. Community involvement in Pride events may lead to more responsive local governments, ensuring symbols like Pride flags are raised in municipalities where people call home. By sharing stories like this, we can continue to create positive change and foster a more inclusive and equitable future for all.