Historic Connecticut Parentage Act Passes CT House

Hartford Capitol

UPDATE: On May 26, 2021, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed the Connecticut Parentage Act into law. A complete news story is forthcoming.

In a historic vote, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed the Connecticut Parentage Act (CPA) 141-1 with overwhelming bipartisan support. If approved by the Senate, HB 6321 would overhaul existing state law to ensure that all CT children — regardless of the circumstances of their birth or the marital status, gender, or sexual orientation of their parents — have equal access to the security of a legal parent-child relationship.

“Today’s historic vote is a victory for children and families across Connecticut,” said Douglas NeJaime, Anne Urowsky Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a Connecticut native and principal drafter of the bill. “We are now on the cusp of a Connecticut that treats all families with the respect and recognition they deserve, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or marital status. We urge the Senate to act quickly to pass this legislation and protect LGBTQ parents and their children.”

The CPA would modernize Connecticut law by ensuring access to legal parentage for all children, including those with unmarried, same-gender, or non-biological parents. For example, it would extend to same-gender couples access to the Acknowledgement of Parentage process, a simple form already available to unmarried different-gender couples that allows a parent to establish a legal parent-child relationsip at birth without court proceedings. The bill would also provide protections for children conceived through assisted reproduction, which account for four percent of all Connecticut births.

“Today, the House of Representatives voted to protect the rights of all Connecticut families, regardless of how they’re formed,” said Rep. Jeff Currey (East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor), the lead sponsor of the bill. “The CPA will ensure that LGBTQ parents and their children no longer have to face degrading obstacles and painful uncertainty because of outdated and unconstitutional parentage laws. The Senate must now act without delay and vote to approve the CPA — our families cannot wait any longer.”

The effort to pass the Connecticut Parentage Act is led by the WE CARE Coalition, a coalition of Connecticut families, legal advocates, and community organizations and spearheaded by a Yale Law School clinic and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. The bill is supported by a broad range of experts and organizations, including child advocates, legal organizations, LGBTQ groups, and medical experts.

“Today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote is a testament to the tireless work of so many Connecticut families and advocates,” said Michael Loedel ’23, a student in the Yale Law School clinic. “Through their powerful, personal stories, these families made clear that Connecticut parentage law is in desperate need of change — and the House of Representatives listened.”

The CPA was adapted from model legislation by the Uniform Law Commission, a nonpartisan body of state lawmakers, state judges, scholars, and lawyers that produces uniform laws on a wide range of state law issues. Similar legislation has been passed in Maine, Washington, Vermont, California, and Rhode Island.

“A secure relationship to their parents is core to the wellbeing of every child, and today’s vote brings us one step closer to a recognition of legal parentage that reflects and protects the diversity of Connecticut families,” said Polly Crozier, GLAD Senior Staff Attorney. “We’re grateful to the leadership of Representative Currey, our sponsors, and every House member who voted today. We are hopeful that the Senate will act quickly to finish the job and ensure that all families are protected under Connecticut law.”

For more information or to be connected with impacted families and supporters of the legislation, contact Cara Newlon from Yale Law School or Amanda Johnston at GLAD.