Gay and transgender people become parents in diverse ways including adoption, technology, and previous heterosexual relationships. These families deserve the same protections that other families receive. Unfortunately, current laws have created some barriers to securing legal protections. Family decisions should be made by parents and professionals, not politicians.
Utah law permits any single adult or married couple to adopt. However couples that do not have a legally recognized marriage license (including gay and lesbian couples) are disqualified.
Second Parent Adoption
In many Utah families, the law only recognizes one parent. The parent who is not legally recognized is often referred to as the second parent. Second parent adoptions are an effort to protect the parent-child relationship that already exists yet remains unrecognized under the law.
Custody & Visitation
Since second parent adoptions are prohibited, many children of gay and lesbian couples only have a legal relationship with one parent. In these situations, if a couple separates the second parent may have no rights to or responsibility for the children.
In cases where both parents have a legally recognized relationship with the children, Utah courts must consider "the past conduct and demonstrated moral standards of each of the parties." This law has been used to deny custody to gay and lesbian parents.
For a surrogacy agreement to be enforceable in Utah courts, the law requires that the intended parents be married.
- Statute: Who may adopt—Adoption of a minor
Utah Code §78B-6-117
- Statute: Custody of children in case of separation or divorce—Custody consideration
Utah Code §30-3-10
- Statute: Gestational agreement authorized
Utah Code §78B-15-801
- Case: Jones v. Barlow
2007 Utah 20 (Reversed trial court decision awarding visitation to the child's second parent, stating only one parent's relationship was legally recognized).
- Case: Tucker v. Tucker 1996 Utah 12 (Reversed trial court decision awarding custody to a lesbian mother, stating the father would "serve as a better moral example" because the mother had a female partner).
- Study: Lesbian and Gay Parenting 2005
- Article: When Best Choice Isn't Available
Provo Daily Herald, January 20 2008