Online Extra: Gays Across America: 2015 US Supreme Court case has led to more gays wanting to own homes
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The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal across the county has led to more LGBTs buying homes, according to an online poll of real estate professionals.
The 2017 National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals Homeownership Survey of more than 325 people in May found that 47 percent of respondents think more married same-sex couples are buying homes than before the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Forty-six percent believe LGBTs overall are more keen to buying homes than before.
"We firmly believe that when Jim Obergefell won his Supreme Court case, it was the start of a paradigm shift for the LGBT community," NAGLREP founder Jeff Berger said in a news release. "The confidence we gained, coupled with society's continued acceptance of the community, is having an impact. Marriage will likely bring more wonderful life events including children, homeownership and a potential increase in suburban living."
Katharine Holland, a lesbian and longtime San Francisco real estate agent, told the Bay Area Reporter, with "a lot of gay families, it's very sweet to see now they are legally married, so a lot of times people need to trade up and sell their smaller places," especially when they have children. Those families are "just like other families getting married," she said.
Among the survey's other findings, 50 percent of real estate professionals believe that a big chunk of their LGBT clients will buy homes within the next year.
However, Berger also said anti-gay discrimination remains a strong concern, with 44 percent of survey respondents worrying that their clients will experience at least as much discrimination as they have in the past.
"We still have a long way to go to eradicate housing discrimination against our community," Berger stated. His organization is backing the national Equality Act, which was introduced earlier this year in Congress and would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas.
Appeal filed in Mississippi parental rights case
Attorneys for a woman who's fighting her ex-wife for legal parentage of their children have filed an appeal in Mississippi Supreme Court.
In a news release from the national Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which joined local attorney Dianne Ellis in the filing, Christina Strickland said that her and Kimberly Day's sons "have two mothers and they deserve the right to a legal relationship with both of their parents. These two precious boys are the world to me. I'm going to keep fighting to make good on my promise to love and care for them for the rest of my life."
Strickland and Day started dating in 1999 and decided to start a family even though Mississippi bans same-sex couple adoptions. Because of the ban, when their first son was born in 2006, they decided Day would be the adoptive parent. The couple got married in Massachusetts in 2009, then decided to use reproductive technology to have another child. Day was picked as the one to get pregnant, and they chose an anonymous sperm donor. Their second son was born in 2011. Since Mississippi didn't recognize their marriage, Day was the only parent listed on the birth certificate.
When the couple split in 2013, Strickland continued visiting and supporting both of their sons until Day cut off contact in 2015, the year that Day married someone else and Strickland filed for divorce, according to Lambda Legal.
In the final divorce judgment in 2016, the court ruled that the sperm donor's parental rights trumped those of the spouse.
Lambda Legal counsel Beth Littrell stated, "The court carved out an exception to the rule that a child born to a married couple is the legal child of both spouses, ruling that children born as a result of assisted reproduction are the children of the mother and the anonymous sperm donor. The lower court's decision is demeaning and destabilizing, marking Chris and her children as unworthy of the usual protections married families rely on when adult relationships fail. That the court considers an unknowable donor who provided sperm to a fertility clinic more of a parent than the person who takes care of the child when he is sick or helps him with his homework is a slap in the face to thousands of Mississippi families."
An attorney for Day didn't respond to a phone message from the B.A.R.
Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays but will be taking the next few weeks off, returning July 11. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.