50 years since Stonewall: Expert comment on LGBT+ issues in family law
Dr Maebh Harding comments on LGBTQ+ issues in the area of English Family Law as today marks 50 years since the modern gay rights movement Stonewall was jump started by a police raid prompting a riot. She says:
"Today is a major landmark for LGBT+ activism. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress of English Family Law in broadening legal understandings of the family, upholding rights of equality and ensuring inclusion. There has been significant progress over the last 50 years including the legal recognition of acquired gender for trans people, the extension of marriage to same sex couples, and the upcoming broadening of civil partnership to include different sex couples. English law’s understanding of parent-child relationships has also changed. The rules regulating assisted reproduction and adoption have been reformed to recognise same sex parents and different types of families. These changes would not have happened without sustained pressure from the LGBT+ community and the dedication of LGBT+ activists.
"However, we still have a long way to go. Gender and sexuality still matter in the legal regulation of marriage so although marriage is now open to same sex couples the law does not treat them in the same way as heterosexual couples. Same sex couples have fewer options on where to marry and the intimacy of their relationships is not considered relevant in marriage law. Although the law now recognises the rights of same sex parents, such families still encounter significant social discrimination on a daily basis. Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is also urgently required."