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A same sex divorce and custody case behind new bill in one state

In 2015, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right in the nation. However, one state has been accused of trying to possibly subvert that right with proposed legislation. The bill comes on the heels of a same sex divorce and custody case. This bill has not been proposed in New York, but it may be of interest to couples everywhere.

Two lawmakers claimed that the language used in their state makes it difficult to settle cases such as the recent custody disagreement between a same-sex couple.They have now requested that the terms "father," "husband," "wife" and "mother" be based only on biology. They claim that this will clear up any confusion when divorce and custody cases are being decided in the future. Understandably, there is now concern among many in the LGBT community that such an effort will strip away rights that have already been afforded by the recent decision in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage.

The lawmakers stated that other bills have standardized language and have made it easier for the courts to settle other cases. However, civil rights groups are concerned that a bill that limits definitions to biology could make it almost impossible for same-sex couples to gain custody or adopt children. Instead, leaders have countered that the terms used should be more broad, such as removing the words "wife" and "husband" and replacing them with the word "spouse," which could be considered more inclusive for all couples and families.

Similar bills in the past have not fared well, and it remains to be seen what will become of this latest effort. In the past several years, much work has been done here in New York and around the country to ensure that all families receive equal treatment under the law, including situations such as a same sex divorce. Those families who find themselves facing a divorce and possibly child custody issues may seek the advice of a professional who is familiar with all aspects of family law in this state.

Source: tennessean.com, "Bill: Define mother, father, husband, wife by biology", Jake Lowary and Stacey Barchenger, Jan. 17, 2017

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