What do North Carolina lesbian and gay couples do when the laws of the state make adopting a child by both people in a same-sex relationship nearly impossible? Where do they go when the laws and constitution of NC make it impossible for LGBTQ couples to wed, let alone live in a domestic partnership or civil union of any kind, shape or form? Where do gay couples in a significant long-term relationship go when they are desirous of being dads through surrogacy? Where do lesbian or gay couples go if they want to have both of their names on their infant’s birth certificate? Simple: North Carolina individuals or couples go to Washington, D.C.! Washington, D.C. has become the marriage and birth sanctuary or haven for many North Carolina LGBTQ individuals and couples who wish to wed, have receptions, give birth to a child or have a child through surrogacy.
I know I’m a little slow on trends, but this is a definite trend. It was unbeknownst to me until the last few weeks when “D.C.” started to arise when talking to gay and lesbian couples who were either getting married, having a child, adopting a child or having a child through surrogacy. The first inkling about D.C. being the hot place to marry came about when I looked through the photo album of a recently married couple of men who are gay and deaf. I realized that I knew three or four other couples who had recently wed in D.C. This led to the second “aha” moment when talking to a lesbian couple who were wed in D.C., claimed “residency” in the city itself before they were wedded (and have recently moved to N.C.), and plan to go back “up” to D.C. when their child (they are expectant parents) is born. Why D.C.? Because both names of the mothers can be on the birth certificate when a child is born in a D.C. hospital. I’ve now known three North Carolina lesbian couples who had their child in D.C. for this very reason. And, their N.C. families gladly trooped up to the city to celebrate the festive day of birth, in which the caravan then came back down with a new citizen of N.C.
Lastly, a gay friend and his new partner who have both always wanted a child have been working with lawyers and a surrogacy service in D.C., and they are expecting a child in October 2013. Will they be recognized as the “moms” and “dads” legally in N.C.? Apparently, there is already legal precedent in N.C. for recognizing either gay or lesbian parents when children born in other cities and states where it is legal to have both dads and both moms on the birth certificate.
“Necessity” and “desire” are the “mother” of invention, says the old tired cliché. And, on this matter, I’m glad that North Carolinians who love living in this state have found a way of both fulfilling their desire to be parents and securing their rights as parents through other creative means. I hope other wannabe couples and parents take advantage when other states are seeing the inevitable reality of this country, that we, who are LGBTQI, are slowly but surely becoming equal citizens of these United States. : :