3 Travel Safety Tips for LGBT Parents
International travel can expand your family's world view and create timeless memories, but acceptance of LGBT individuals and their families vary from state to state and country to country.
David Starks, a partner at Seattle-based family law firm McKinley Irvin and an experienced attorney in the area of international family law, has broken down a few things LGBT families should consider and do to ensure they are legally protected while traveling:
KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING
It helps to have an understanding of the cultural acceptance and laws pertaining to LGBT individuals in your travel destination. While many countries offer protections to LGBT families, there are many that are intolerant. Unfortunately, homosexual activity is considered a criminal offense and punishable by law in many countries. Individuals convicted in these countries could be fined, sentenced to prison, or worse. If you are dreaming of a trip to Jamaica you might want to think again.
OBTAINING A PASSPORT
Whether you are married in a marriage equality state, divorced or single, federal law requires that both legal parents listed on a child's birth certificate consent to the issuance of a U.S. passport for any child under the age of 16. In order to accommodate changing family structures, the passport application form now allows both parents, regardless of their sex, to be listed as parents.
Aside from a passport, it is important to travel with appropriate documentation in order to avoid any complications at the border or in instances of a medical emergency. If you do not share the same last name as the child you're traveling with, it's a good idea to keep handy evidence of your relationship such as a copy of your child's birth certificate or adoption decree.
Traveling internationally always comes with careful planning, and for many LGBT parents a little extra planning can make a big difference between spending your vacation worrying and relaxing. The best way to leave worry off the packing list is to consult with your local family law attorney.