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Do Ohio LGBTQ couples have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples?

| Nov 2, 2020 | Recognition |

Ohio LGBTQ couples received the right to marry in 2015 with the U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision. Under state law, LGBTQ individuals and families can adopt children and access reproductive technology such in vitro fertilization.

With awareness of their rights under state and federal law, LGBTQ families and their allies can take action when denied these rights.

Parenting issues

When one woman in a same-sex couple has a baby through assisted reproductive technology, Ohio law grants the other woman parental rights only when the women have married. Otherwise, the partner who did not give birth must legally adopt the baby. If the couple ends the relationship, she will not have custody rights without legal adoption.

LGBTQ couples who plan to use surrogacy to grow their families can do so in Ohio, including gay male couples. While state law does not specifically address gestational surrogacy, Ohio courts have ruled in favor of this practice. Joint adoption by same-sex couples and stepchild adoption by LGBTQ individuals are also legal in Ohio.

Discrimination

LGBTQ couples may experience discrimination during divorce, custody or adoption proceedings. While Ohio law does not prohibit discrimination based on gender orientation and sexual identity, many counties in the state have their own antidiscrimination ordinances.

If discrimination has affected your LGBTQ family or you feel a medical provider or agency has denied you the right to reproduce, adopt or parent your child, you may have legal recourse by filing a federal lawsuit. You can file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. This agency will investigate your charge and issue an opinion about whether discrimination has occurred.