Passage of Parentage Act in CT makes it easier for same-sex couples to start family
Same-sex couples in Connecticut had a major victory this week after the Parentage Act became law - making it easier to start a family.
Gov. Ned Lamont signed the law, which changes the word "paternity" to "parentage."
If a straight couple has a baby, a male partner can claim paternity - but for two women, that's a problem. It’s also a problem for two men, where only one partner can claim paternity under current law. The word “parentage” also gives non-binary partners the same rights to appear on a child’s birth certificate.
"Look, we've got a lot of kids who need a parent," Lamont says.
One Fairfield family knows the struggle all too well. When Victoria Ferrara and her partner had children in the late 1990s, they had to move to Massachusetts to both be legally recognized as parents.
As a reproductive rights lawyer, Ferrara has fought for years to change Connecticut’s laws. She led a 2011 state Supreme Court case that expanded parenting rights for couples using a surrogate.
Ferrara says the Parentage Act will make a huge difference.
"People are like, 'Wait, I have to adopt my own baby?'" says Victoria Ferrara, of Fairfield. "One word makes a huge difference."
Right at the hospital, couples can now sign an Acknowledgement of Parentage like in Vermont - avoiding a costly adoption process in court.
Ferrara didn't have that option in the 90s - but she says she wouldn't change her journey to motherhood.
"It's challenging to have children. You really have to sacrifice a lot, but I wouldn't have it any other way," she says.
The new law also helps straight couples who use a surrogate or a sperm donor. The Parentage Act takes effect in January.