Waldlaw Blog

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Congratulations Bevan and Rebecca!

A client of mine -- a gay man who is, himself, in the process of trying to conceive a child with a single woman friend -- sent me an article from the Bay Area Reporter a couple of days ago. Titled "Dufty enters new arena -- parenthood," the article described how out gay San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty has teamed up with his close lesbian friend Rebecca Goldfader to have -- and parent -- a child together. Goldfader is now pregnant, after a year and a half of trying, and she and Dufty are planning on using the time between now and the baby's arrival "to introduce their plans and explain their process to the community and also advocate for the legitimacy of LGBT families." (For the whole article, go to http://ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=719.) Advocating for the legitimacy of LGBT families.... Hmmm, that sounds familiar..... So, first of all, CONGRATULATIONS BEVAN AND REBECCA!! Second, welcome to San Francisco's thriving LGBT parenting community. You do not have to re-make the wheel. Lesbians and gay men have been parenting together for much longer than the 10+ years that I've been representing them -- in my law practice, right now, I have at least four "couples" like Bevan and Rebecca -- lesbians and gay men who have "teamed up" not just for purposes of conception but with the intention to actually parent together. Each "couple" is different. Some plan to live together, like Bevan and Rebecca. Some plan to remain in different cities, but share in the joys and responsibilities of parenting through frequent visits and regular phone calls and e-mails. Some are still figuring it out. What matters to me about the "couples" in my practice -- what I see as my role, as their lawyer -- is two-fold. First, I carefully explain the laws around parentage to them, and make sure that their vision for how they will share parental rights and responsibilities becomes a legal reality to the full extent possible. Second, I guide them through the process of reaching a genuine co-parenting agreement, taking into consideration the changing needs and challenges of parenting a baby, a toddler, a child, an adolescent.... I have written upwards of 25 of these agreements, and no two of them have been the same. But each time I see a "couple" such as Bevan and Rebecca through the process of openly and honestly discussing their fears and visions; of arriving at a place of agreement on how rights and responsibilities will be shared between them; and, finally, of enacting a plan for matching the legal realities as closely as possible to their visions, I feel like I too have given birth to something: a family with a solid foundation under it, regardless of how unusual it may appear from the outside.


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