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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 6, 2007

The National Center For Lesbian Rights Secures Federal Benefits For Child

Decision Protects Children Of LGBT Parents

(San Francisco, CA, June 6, 2007) — Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced the successful resolution of a case seeking disability benefits for a ten-year-old child of lesbian parents. The Social Security Administration initially denied these benefits simply because the child had two mothers. In a ruling issued on March 19, 2007, however, Administrative Judge Alberto Gonzalez ruled that the Social Security Administration must recognize that the child has two legal mothers under California law and that the child is entitled to benefits. The ruling by Judge Gonzalez became final on May 18, 2007.

"This decision is extremely significant for children who are being raised by LGBT parents with disabilities," said NCLR attorney Cathy Sakimura. "The Social Security Administration has recognized that a child may have two legal parents of the same sex and that the federal government must provide these children with equal benefits."

Under California law, when a couple raises a child together, both partners are legal parents regardless of their gender or marital status. In this case, after the couple separated, the non-biological mother, who has a disability, applied for federal disability benefits for the couple's child. After the Administration refused to recognize the non-biological mother as a legal parent, NCLR assisted the child's attorney in appealing the denial. Jona Saxby of the Law Office of G. Scott Gaustad was NCLR's co-counsel in the case.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

media contacts:

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Erik Olvera
Director of Communications
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x324
EOlvera@NCLRights.org

Bethany Woolman
Communications Associate
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x305
BWoolman@NCLRights.org

 
Cathy Sakimura
Equal Justice Fellow
National Center for Lesbian Rights
office: 415.392.6257 x324
csakimura@nclrights.org

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