January 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Council approves LGBT-related bills
Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act, elections, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Aram Vartian)

The D.C. City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 20 to give final approval for two LGBT-related bills that as of early this week were awaiting Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature.

One of the bills, the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016, would end the city’s 25-year-old ban on surrogacy parenting agreements, enabling same-sex couples and infertile straight couples to enter into legal agreements with a surrogate mother to give birth to a child.

The bill establishes parental rights and procedures for the couples seeking a surrogate and protections for the surrogate similar to those adopted long ago by other states.

Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, said the legislation puts in place the last remaining component of D.C. family law protecting LGBT couples.

The second bill, the Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016, establishes a process for designating the gender identity and expression on the death certificate of a person who dies. The legislation, which was advocated by transgender rights activists, among other things, allows individuals to pre-designate their gender identity with the city’s Registrar of Vital Records prior to their death.

If no pre-designation has been made, the bill allows any person to challenge a decedent’s gender as reported by a funeral director or the person in charge of the disposition of the body, including blood relatives, with the D.C. Superior Court if they believe the gender designation does not accurately reflect how the person lived his or her life.

“The Court may consider testimony, documentation that memorializes the decedent’s gender transition, or any other evidence,” a D.C. Council committee report on the bill says. “This process will allow the Court to hear from those most familiar with the decedent’s self-identified gender identity or expression,” the report prepared by the Council’s Judiciary Committee says.

If the court rules that an incorrect gender was placed on the death certificate, the Registrar must amend it to reflect the Court’s order, “not marking the certificate of death as amended, and sealing the original,” the committee report describes the bill as saying.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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