December 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Council committee approves 2 LGBT bills
surrogacy parenting, gay news, Washington Blade

‘It is long past time that the District joins the vast majority of states in allowing surrogacy agreements,’ said D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve two LGBT supportive bills related to surrogacy parenting and the appropriate identification of the gender identity of a D.C. resident on their death certificate.

The first bill, the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016, calls for repealing what activists call an archaic city law that criminalizes surrogacy parenting agreements. Such agreements, which are legal in nearly all other states, usually consist of an arrangement in which one or more persons, typically a married infertile couple, contract with a woman to gestate the child for them and to relinquish the child to them after birth.

Gay male couples seeking to have children have also entered into surrogacy parenting arrangements in other states and, due to D.C.’s existing law, cannot do so.

The bill approved by the committee on Wednesday, in addition to repealing the existing law, establishes a new set of standards and requirements facilitating surrogacy agreements in the District.

“It is long past time that the District joins the vast majority of states in allowing surrogacy agreements,” said D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie, chair of the Judiciary Committee. “The bill adopts best practices and model provisions from other states to anticipate many of the issues that could arise during surrogacy, including strong legal protections for both surrogates and parents,” he said.

The second bill, the Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016, “allows an individual’s gender identity to be properly reflected on their death certificate,” according to a statement released by McDuffie’s office.

“The current process records an individual’s ‘sex’ as it is reported to the Vital Records Division of the Department of Health, but there is no procedure to alert officials that the individual’s gender identity differs from what was reported,” the statement says.

Transgender activists, who support the bill, have said it is needed to prevent hostile relatives or uninformed friends from misidentifying a transgender person’s chosen gender identity at the time of death.

“In case of conflicting information from sources, the death certificate shall be based on documentation that memorializes the decedent’s gender transition,” the bill states. “If documentation is not available, it shall be based on information from individuals most familiar with the decedent’s gender identity at the time of death,” the bill says.

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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