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4/3/2019 Rep. McEntee bills that update parentage and adoption laws heard by House Judiciary Committee
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) two bills that update the Rhode Island law concerning parentage and the law on adoption processes were heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

“Our state’s adoption and parentage laws are significantly outdated, especially toward our state’s loving LGBTQ parents who want nothing more than to love, protect, and be responsible for their children.  These bills are needed because we must acknowledge that our society and its definition of ‘families’ has changed and we cannot discriminate or put up undue burdens for those who wish nothing more than to love and raise the future members of our society.    These two bills are specifically about one thing - equality and fairness,” said Representative McEntee.

The RI Confirmatory Adoption Act (2019-H 5706) provides for a process for married and unmarried parents, to complete adoption to confirm their parentage of children born into their relationships with mutual intent and through assisted reproduction.  The bill will codify a streamlined process for co-parent adoptions by LGBTQ couples who petition to adopt their own children and the bill will ensure greater clarity, efficiency, and consistency in the adoption process.

The current system creates barriers and delays for families by requiring home studies, providing notice of adoption to anonymous donors, a six-month waiting period, and other court requirements.

The RI Parentage Act (2019-H 5707) repeals current state law regarding paternity and replaces it with a more comprehensive parentage act that provides procedures establishing parentage, genetic testing, surrogacy agreements and assisted reproduction.

The bill provides for the following paths to legal parentage in Rhode Island: birth, adoption, acknowledgement, adjudication, genetics, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, de facto parentage, and presumptions.  It also provides clear standards for the Family Court to apply in order to establish parentage.

“The ‘family dynamic’ of the past no longer exists and families now come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Just because a particular family does not consist of one heterosexual male and one heterosexual female does not mean that these individuals do not love and provide for their children, nor should it remove the rights of these individuals to raise their children in the eyes of the law.  There are so many horrific stories of neglect and abuse perpetrated by parents who do not want, or deserve, their children so we must not make it harder for loving individuals to raise their own families, regardless of their gender or sexual identity,” concluded Representative McEntee.

The bills were held for further study by the committee.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903