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The Trump Effect: Gay parental rights in the US and how that affects gay parents in the UK

The Trump Effect: Gay parental rights in the US and how that affects gay parents in the UK

Donald Trump

SPONSORED: During his campaigning President-Elect Donald Trump suggested he would proactively work to reverse the hard won civil liberties of American gays and lesbians by appointing Supreme Court justices that would support reversing the 2015 same-sex marriage ruling.

To the relief of many, Trump has now clarified his position on equal marriage, conceding in a recent interview with CBS, that he felt the issue ‘was already settled’.

For gay and lesbian couples looking to marry in the US this reversal is welcome news, but questions of how supportive the Republican party will be about alternative families remain unanswered.

Concerns were raised when Trump appointed Republican Chairman Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff. In July Priebus, speaking with NBC, suggested children growing up in a same sex household would be more likely to engage in crime and substance abuse than those growing up in an opposite sex household.

Reince Priebus addresses the American Conservative Union in 2015
Reince Priebus addresses the American Conservative Union in 2015

Referring to his sources he said, ‘the data, the facts, lead to an inescapable conclusion that every child deserves a married mom and dad’. Politifact, a Pulitzer Prize winning website dedicated to fact checking such statements, concluded unequivocally that Priebus’ suggestion was untrue.

Is the USA in danger of making a dangerous U-turn?

Considering these potentially conflicting views on the rights of gays and lesbians in the US it is understandable why people are concerned. Is the USA in danger of making a dangerous U-turn on civil liberties, equality and gay rights?

Despite outward appearances, in many ways the US has been a world leader when it comes to civil liberties.

At present, American gay fathers wishing to conceive a child using a surrogate have less restrictions than British fathers.

UK law currently prevents surrogacy arrangements being brokered and considers it an offence to advertise for a surrogate mother. In effect this ruling means many British men have to go to the US to find a surrogate and start their family.

For a host of reasons, some biological and some legal, UK lesbian couples have fewer issues and can complete the conception here in the UK, using donor insemination.

The London Women’s Clinic was one of the first fertility clinics in the world to offer their services to the lesbian community in an open and direct fashion when many other clinics were still euphemistically referring to their patients as ‘single women’.

Thinking of parenthood?
Thinking of parenthood?

Our clinics also provide services and advice to gay men wanting to start families, but are restricted how much we can help by the current legal framework. For example, a gay couple must independently find their own surrogate, who under English law, will be treated as the legal mother of the child at birth and can withdraw her consent at any time.

Assuming the surrogate doesn’t withdraw consent the gay couple will still have to apply for a ‘parental order’ to acquire full legal parenthood of their child. The LWC would legally and theoretically only be responsible for providing a donor egg, the insemination and the implantation.

‘When they go low, we go high’

With attitudes towards gays and gay parenting in the US potentially shifting, now would be a good time for the UK to reconsider its laws regarding surrogacy. Brilliant Beginnings and Natalie Gamble Associates have set up a petition to encourage the government to expedite changes and are also encouraging those affected by the restriction to reach out to their local MPs.

During the presidential campaign First Lady Michelle Obama memorably said ‘When they go low, we go high’; if the US decided to set its clock back maybe the UK should strive to set ours forward.

For more information about alternative families, surrogacy or donor insemination get in touch with the London Women’s Clinic on 020 7563 4309 or visit londonwomensclinic.com.

Donald Trump image: Transition 2017, CC BY 4.0.