Doing our diligence for queer couples in Pride Month — 3 states to watch for 

Pride flag in front of a blue sky.

Navigating a divorce can be overwhelming, and for queer couples going through a separation, we understand the added concerns community members face due to discriminatory laws rampant across the U.S. 

As a women-owned law firm proudly serving our LGBTQ+ community in Washington state, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence as lawyers dedicated to family law if we didn’t shed light on concerns divorcing queer couples have, especially as summer weather brings plans for travel.  

Although the requirements for divorce are the same for hetero and same-sex couples, there are caveats like property division and child custody that differ from state to state for all couples and factor whether and when the couple got married (pre vs post-Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision which legalized same-sex marriage across all 50 states in 2015). 

Even with this landmark case solidifying same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign shares a record-breaking amount of over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures just this year. The ACLU is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the U.S., with over 220 bills targeting transgender and non-binary folx. 

As you set out to enjoy your summer and all the great things warmer weather welcomes like travel and vacation plans with the kiddos, be aware of states you should watch for, what you can do to protect your rights, and resources to support you as you navigate this tricky terrain. 

Nearly every state in the U.S. has proposed, advanced, and passed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. While it seems impossible to avoid, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Iowa are “red hot” states with significant proposed or passed anti-LGBTQ+ bills to keep an eye out for. 

  • Missouri is leading with 48 proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills including SB 39, which effective in August of 2023, prohibits transgender athlete students from competing on teams different from their biological sex. HB 2173 proposed to change laws regarding marriage, replacing marriage license contracts with domestic unions, effectively dissolving the legal protection of marriage that many same-sex couples rely on.
  • Oklahoma with 32 advancing anti-LGBTQ+ bills including SB 613, which would ban gender reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies for minors, and HB 2186, which would outlaw drag performances. 
  • Iowa with 29 total proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills and 9 advancing bills including HF 508 which allows Iowa residents to not recognize same-sex marriage, defining marriage as a deeply “religious sacrament between one male and one female.” 

As you travel, whether to the above-listed states or not, protecting your child/children is a top priority, which is why it’s important to become familiar with how you can protect yourself and your childs’ rights through a power of attorney. 

How it works: With a power of attorney, you can grant one or more individuals the authority to act on your behalf. The power may be applied generally or it may be restricted to specific activities related to finances, healthcare, or other areas of your life. As a divorcing queer couple, a power of attorney is especially important for situations when your ex-partner may be traveling with your child/children and you may need them to act on your behalf. 

Traveling and enjoying quality time with loved ones shouldn’t feel like you’re walking on a field full of landmines, but for some of our LGBTQ+ community members, it can.

With more than 1.2M same-sex couple households living in the U.S. as of 2021, and roughly 710,000 married same sex-couples, it’s clear that there’s a need for significant legal support tailored to the unique needs and problems affecting LGBTQ+ couples and their families. 

We recommend keeping this ACLU anti-LGBTQ+ tracker in your back pocket as you plan vacations or travel that includes your kiddos. 

As questions arise regarding child custody and spousal support concerns, connecting with an LGBTQ+ friendly lawyer who can provide legal advice tailored to your unique situation and are well-versed in the laws affecting LGBTQ+ couples and families is a must. 

At Dubois Levias Law Group, we’re dedicated to providing compassionate, knowledgeable, and inclusive legal representation to divorcing queer couples during Pride Month and beyond. We’re just a call or click away from providing you the support you deserve as you move forward into your new beginning.  

We extend our proverbial arms to everyone facing discrimination and difficulty as they navigate divorce as a queer, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming human being.