Since the nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex parents have become much more visible in the United States. Unfortunately, they still face serious discrimination in many facets of their lives. An article from Reuters examines the stigma faced by gay fathers as they strive to raise their children with their partners or as single parents.
The Best Interest Of The Child
Of the gay fathers surveyed for the article, some formed their families through adoption, foster placement, or surrogacy. However, the majority had children from previous heterosexual marriages or relationships. Of these, many claimed to have faced discrimination in matters pertaining to child custody.
Unfortunately, there are no specific protections for gay fathers in child custody matters. Equality Virginia points out that the state’s history of judgments include denying a gay parent custody on the basis that it would negatively impact the child’s relationship with other children and the entire community. In another case cited, a gay father was granted visitation, but only with the requirement that the man’s partner would not be present when the child was present.
Despite these examples, Virginia law posits that the child’s best interest should be the driving force when it comes to child custody arrangements. Typically, that means that the child would have an ongoing relationship with both parents, regardless of their sexual orientation. Gay fathers going through child custody battles may benefit from the advocacy of a child custody attorney who understands the relevant case law and is willing to stand up for the rights of LGBT families.