MA House Passes Parentage Act, Advancing Bill for Senate Approval

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MA House Passes Parentage Act, Advancing Bill for Senate Approval

On June 12, the Massachusetts House of Representatives today voted unanimously to pass an act to ensure legal parentage equality, better known as the Massachusetts Parentage Act (H4672), historic legislation that will protect LGBTQ+ families, and children born through surrogacy and assisted reproduction, in forming the legal bond of a parent-child relationship. The bill now advances to the Massachusetts Senate.

"We are grateful that these long-overdue protections have passed the House and will now take this important step toward becoming law in Massachusetts," said Polly Crozier, Director of Family Advocacy at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. "We are grateful for Speaker Ron Mariano's leadership in advancing the MPA and for the many hours of work dedicated to this legislation by Chairman Michael Day through his leadership role on the Judiciary Committee. All families in Massachusetts, including many LGBTQ+ families, are one step closer to having the legal protections and security they deserve. As this bill advances, we look forward to working with the Senate - where we have strong bipartisan support - and the Senate President, who is also a longtime supporter of LGBTQ equality."

The MPA updates Massachusetts statutes to clarify who can be a parent and how to establish parentage. This bill is critical to ensuring that all children can access the security of legal parentage, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, including through assisted reproduction and surrogacy.

Currently, Massachusetts is the only state in New England without established statutory protections on parentage.

"What we are doing today is giving a tune up to our statutory structure to reflect the modern and contemporary ways that people become parents whether they are straight or gay," said Rep. Sarah Peake during her floor speech Wednesday. "This is a bill that is good for everyone in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

"At the heart of this bipartisan legislation lies a simple yet profound principle: the recognition of legal parentage should not be contingent upon outdated norms or narrow definitions," said Rep. Hannah Kane, a co-sponsor of the bill, during her floor speech Wednesday. "It is a principle that acknowledges the diverse tapestry of modern families and affirms their right to legal recognition and protection under the law."

"Today we seek to modernize laws that currently treat parents who, despite loving and providing for their children just as much as any other parent does, we treat them as second class because of how they became a parent," said Rep. Day during his floor speech Wednesday.

Governor Maura Healey and Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell expressed their strong support, respectively, for the legislation in April following the enactment of a similar piece of legislation in Michigan.

"We've been proud to be a national leader and trailblazer when it comes to LGBTQ+ equality, but we've got some catching up to do," said Governor Healey. "Let's pass the Massachusetts Parentage Act to make sure every family has the legal protections they need and deserve."

"Our state parental laws have not kept pace with the diversity of modern-day families, and as other states take the necessary steps to protect families, provide stability for children and advance reproductive and LGBTQ+ rights, it is clear it is well past the time for us to act and pass the Massachusetts Parentage Act," said Attorney General Campbell.

The bill's bipartisan sponsors include Democrat Senator Julian Cyr, Republican Senator Bruce Tarr, Democrat Representative Sarah Peake, and Republican Representative Hannah Kane.