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Thanks to the actions of an Oklahoma judge, the state continues to seal its reputation as an unsafe state for the LGBTQIA+ community. One new bill aims to restrict the rights of LGBTQ parents, while the Attorney General in Texas attempts to negatively address trans youth.

Freedom Oklahoma recently released a statement on an Oklahoma court case that could have far-reaching implications for LGBTQ parents. One Oklahoma judge’s ruling could restrict a non-gestational parent from accessing their parental rights. Non-gestational refers to parents who didn’t physically give birth.

The case in front of Judge McGuire involves a married same-sex couple who used a sperm donor to have a baby. Both parents were listed on the child’s birth certificate. Now the parents are divorcing — and despite the fact that Chris, the non-gestational parent, is on the child’s birth certificate, Judge McGuire has moved to limit Chris’ rights — and engage the sperm donor as the other parent. 

Oklahoma judge considers restrictions for LGBTQ parents
Oklahoma County District Court Judge Lynne McGuire. (Ballotpedia)

Oklahoma goes after same-sex parents

According to Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, “A temporary order in a pending case in front of Judge McGuire in Oklahoma County suggests that despite the intentionally planned pregnancy and parenting of a child between two queer parents, both of whom appear on the birth certificate, that the non-gestational parent does not have parental rights.” 

The Black Wall St. Times reached out to attorney Robyn Hopkins, who now represents Chris, the non-gestational parent, in the case. She noted that current Oklahoma law states that any child born within a marriage is legally parented by the married couple, and the child in the current case falls under such circumstances.  Nonetheless, the judge refused to recognize the legitimacy of the LGBTQ parents.

“To require same-sex couples to endure more costs to solidify parental rights places further burden on the couple, especially the non gestational parent. This is especially egregious when the relationship with the child has not only been established, but the child was created within the marriage, with even more intention than most children born of opposite-sex couples. And the fact that the non-gestational parent is listed on the legally-recognized birth certificate; what else can be asked of a parent?” Hopkins told The BWSTimes.

Attacks on trans youth and LGBTQ+ parents around the country

Despite the divorce, McAfee stated, “No 2SLGBTQ+ person should risk losing their child simply because they are not the gestational parent,” adding, “Parents and children alike deserve the certainty that their rights and relationships won’t be rewritten by the courts, just because when given the opportunity, the legal system reverts to heteronormative, ableist definitions of what constitutes a parent.”

The Oklahoma case is not the only piece of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation making news. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose interpretation of a child abuse law includes trans and LGBTQIA+ youth who receive gender-affirming care.

Like Judge McGuire in the Oklahoma case, Paxton and Abbott are targeting both LGBTQ parents and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. While Attorney General Paxton’s opinion doesn’t actually change the law, enforcement measures are now affected. 

Over 20 bills nationwide restrict rights for LGBTQ parents and the community

Governor Abbott recently sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, requesting a thorough review of any cases in which a child received gender-affirming services.

Abbott is suggesting that any parent who provides such care for their trans child is engaging in child abuse. 

Meanwhile, Oklahoma and Texas are not the only states in which anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-trans legislation is tracking.

Freedom for All Americans, in conjunction with the Equality Federation, has identified over 20 bills across the country that seek to curb the rights and dignities of trans men, women, and children, as well as other members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...