Task Force: Extending Family & Medical Leave Act 'fair and humane'

June 22, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, June 22 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force calls the extension of Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to same-sex parents "fair and humane." These parents, who previously had to fight legal battles to have the right to care for their sick or newborn children, can now focus on their families without fear of losing their jobs.

Under the FMLA, parents are able to take leave for up to 12 weeks to care for a sick or newborn child. The new interpretation expands those terms to include parents who are not legally or biologically related to the child. This change will help parents across the country in states like Arizona, Texas and Virginia that do not allow second-parent adoption and limit same-sex couples' ability to care for their families.

The Task Force commends the Human Rights Campaign for its work on this policy shift in collaboration with the Department of Labor. This new interpretation is the type of regulatory change that the Task Force's New Beginning Initiative advocates for to create real change in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"This is a pro-family policy change that will enable parents across the country to provide critical attention and care to their sick or newborn children. This is humane, fair and acknowledges the reality that there are thousands of same-sex couples with children — but without the same basic rights and protections currently guaranteed to other families. No parent should ever fear taking time away from his or her job to care for a child in need."

Statement by Hilda L. Solis, Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor

"No one who loves and nurtures a child day-in and day-out should be unable to care for that child when he or she falls ill. No one who steps in to parent a child when that child's biological parents are absent or incapacitated should be denied leave by an employer because he or she is not the legal guardian. No one who intends to raise a child should be denied the opportunity to be present when that child is born simply because the state or an employer fails to recognize his or her relationship with the biological parent. These are just a few of many possible scenarios. The Labor Department's action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA."

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.