Federal judge strikes down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban

Cari Searcy, left, and Kim McKeand, who legally married six years ago in California, are pictured with their son Khaya Searcy, 8, on Tuesday November 11, 2014 in Mobile, Ala. State officials, citing Alabama's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, denied Searcy's second-parent adoption of the child. (Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

Cari Searcy, left, and Kim McKeand, who legally married six years ago in California, are pictured with their son Khaya Searcy, 8, on Tuesday November 11, 2014 in Mobile, Ala. State officials, citing Alabama’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, denied Searcy’s second-parent adoption of the child. (Sharon Steinmann/ssteinmann@al.com)

A federal judge in Mobile on Friday struck down Alabama’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that a woman could not be denied her desire for a second-parent adoption of a 9-year-old boy whom she has helped raise since birth.

U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade ruled that the Alabama Marriage Protection Act and the amendment that later enshrined it in the state constitution both were unconstitutional.

“It’s amazing. I was not expecting it at all (on Friday). Happy, happy news. I kind of expected them to sit on it because of the Supreme Court,” said Cari Searcy, one of the plaintiffs. “It’s so encouraging that we got a positive ruling from our home state.

“Love did win,” she added.

David Kennedy, an attorney for Mobile residents Searcy and Kim McKeand, praised the ruling.

“We’re obviously quite pleased with it,” he said. “It was the ruling that, frankly, we expected.”

The Alabama Attorney General’s Office indicated it would continue to fight the case. Late Friday, attorneys filed papers in court asking the judge to put the decision on hold.

Read Judge Granade’s ruling here

“We are disappointed and are reviewing the Federal District Court’s decision,” spokesman Mike Lewis said via email. “We expect to ask for a stay of the court’s judgment pending the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling which will ultimately decide this case.”

Other challenges pending

It is the first of several pending same-sex marriage cases in Alabama to be ruled on. The decision adds to a growing list of decisions across the country in favor of same-sex marriage.

“Careful review of the parties’ briefs and the substantial case law on the subject persuades the Court that the institution of marriage itself is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution, and that the State must therefore convince the Court that its laws restricting the fundamental right to marry serve a compelling state interest,” Granade wrote in her 10-page order.

If Grande agrees to put the case on hold, Searcy will have to wait until the high court rules before she can become a legal parent to the boy. If the judge refuses, than Searcy could begin that process immediately.

Kennedy said his interpretation is that same-sex couple also would be able to marry statewide.

“Love did win.” — Cari Searcy

An attorney for April Brush and Ginger Aaron, the plaintiffs in one of the Alabama same-sex marriages that has yet to be decided, predicted a similar outcome.

“It’s so exciting. Precedence from the same state should have a compelling impact on our case in the Northern District,” said the attorney, Wendy Brooks Crew. “This judge clearly recognizes that family is family and that marriage is a fundamental right to all Americans – black, white, gay or straight and there is no compelling state interest to say otherwise.”

The judge’s ruling comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a same-sex marriage case that supporters and opponents, alike, hope will settle the question once and for all.

The high court surprised many observers in October when it declined to hear appeals from a number of states. At the time, every appellate court that had considered the issue had ruled in favor of same-sex plaintiffs.

But the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned lower court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee in November. The Supreme Court announced last week that it would review that case.

Granade, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, wrote that she considered the arguments of the Sixth Circuit but found more persuasive the legal reasoning of four other appellate courts in favor of same-sex marriage. She rejected Alabama’s argument that it has a legitimate interest in protecting ties between children and biological parents.

“The Attorney General does not explain how allowing or recognizing same-sex marriage between two consenting adults will prevent heterosexual parents or other biological kin from caring for their biological children,” the judge wrote. “He proffers no justification for why it is that the provisions in question single out same-sex couples and prohibit them, and them alone, from marrying in order to meet that goal.”

Granade wrote that if anything, the state’s same-sex marriage ban detracted from its stated goal of providing the optimal environment for children. The children of same-sex parents are “just as worth of protection and recognition” by the state as the children of heterosexual parents, she wrote.

“In sum, the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama,” the ruling states.

Searcy and McKeand sued last year after Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis, citing the state’s gay marriage ban, rejected Searcy’s adoption petition. They had been legally married in California.

Both sides in the case agreed that the petition would have been granted as a matter of routine if Searcy and McKeand had been a heterosexual married couple.

Kennedy, the women’s lawyer, said he would ask Granade not to stay the ruling so that his clients can follow through with the adoption immediately.

“Justice delayed is not really something we’re interested in,” he said. “We’re of the opinion that our clients have been waiting for a very long time.”

National, local reaction

Granade’s ruling drew cheers from gay marriage supporters nationally and in downtown Mobile and jeers from opponents.

“Judge Granade’s ruling today affirms what we already know to be true – that all loving, committed Alabama couples should have the right to marry,” Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a prepared statement. “As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a landmark case on marriage equality, today’s ruling joins the dozens and dozens of others that have recognized that committed and loving gay and lesbian couples deserve equal treatment under the law.”

Ben Cooper, chairman of Equality Alabama, said in a statement that he was thankful the state’s “irrational” marriage law had been struck down.

“I am positive with this landmark decision there will be many questions,” he stated. “Yet opportunities now to reinforce and bring Alabama among its fellow states where equality is undeniably a reality.”

I am positive with this landmark decision there will be many questions. Yet opportunities now to reinforce and bring Alabama among its fellow states where equality is undeniably a reality.

At the Flip Side, the gay bar on South Conception Street in Mobile, many patrons welcomed the news.

Bob Brunson, the bartender, called the ruling “an awesome thing” and said he knows the couple personally.

“We’ve fought this battle for so many years,” Brunson said. “I think it’s incredible and very exciting, one step closer to equal rights.”

Dewayne Kemp, 42, called the decision a step forward.

“It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “It’s going to happen when the U.S. Supreme Court votes it in. I don’t look to Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana to vote it in.”

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, blasted the ruling.

“It is outrageous when a single unelected and unaccountable federal judge can overturn the will of millions of Alabamians who stand in firm support of the Sanctity of Marriage Act,” he said in a prepared statement. “The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live.”

Source: Al.com, “Federal judge strikes down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban,” By Brendan KirbyJanuary 23, 2015 at 5:56 PM, updated January 24, 2015 at 7:33 AM

Updated at 6:07 p.m. with comments from Searcy, Kennedy and the Attorney General’s Office. Updated at 7:05 p.m. with additional reaction to the ruling and at 7:30 p.m. with comments form Wendy Brooks Crew. Updated at 9:44 p.m. to embed the judge’s written order.

Reporters Kent Faulk and Casey Toner contributed to this report.

Transgender rights arrive at Capitol

Dr. Jude Harrison of La Plata Family Medicine says a surgery requirement for transgender people to change their birth certificate markers wouldn’t fit everyone. Not all transgender people choose surgery.

Dr. Jude Harrison of La Plata Family Medicine says a surgery requirement for transgender people to change their birth certificate markers wouldn’t fit everyone. Not all transgender people choose surgery.

DENVER – With gay marriage gaining acceptance in America, advocates in Colorado have set their sights on a new frontier – transgender rights.

The entire legal conundrum facing gay couples is not fully settled. The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to tackle whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, with a ruling expected by June.

But for many Americans, the issue is settled after lower federal courts across the country ruled bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, including in Colorado, where same-sex marriage now is legal.

Given the progress, LGBT advocates now are focused on transgender issues.

A measure being proposed for Colorado – which likely will be introduced within the next two weeks – would make it easier for transgender people to change the sex marking on their birth certificates.

The current process requires sex-reassignment surgery in order to qualify. The legislation, which has been proposed by two openly gay lawmakers, also would include hormone treatment, among other “transitional” options.

“They identify how they identify, and they live their life how they identify, and they express their gender how they do, but the state shouldn’t have a requirement that we inspect your genitalia when you’ve made a private medical decision about your health,” said Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Westminster, who will be sponsoring the measure along with Rep. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

For Durango physician Jude Harrison, the issue is as personal as it gets. Harrison, who was born female, simply thought he was a tomboy. But as time went on, he realized he identified as a man. Now 61 years old, Harrison began hormone treatment in 2013.

“My being a man has nothing to do with what’s between my legs,” Harrison said.

He spoke of the legal issues he faces as a result of not having all government-issued documents match in the gender category. As a physician, this has affected licensing. It also comes up when Harrison travels, having to go through security and show identification.

“What one does to transition is going to be a different decision for every person, and for some people, they’re never going to do surgery; and so to have a requirement to have to do surgery to change your birth certificate marker doesn’t fit with what’s going to happen for a number of people for the rest of their lives,” Harrison said.

Dave Montez, executive director of Colorado LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, said transgender issues are important because they come with a host of health and safety issues, as well.

Studies have shown that trans people are subject to more harassment and bullying, resulting in high rates of depression and thoughts of suicide.

“With gay and lesbian people, we saw this incredible change, not just in laws, but in public perception, and we need to do that with transgender people, as well,” Montez said. “But in order to do that, we’ve got to reduce barriers.”

The battle, however, is uphill, especially in a divided Legislature where Republicans control the Senate and Democrats hold the House.

One Republican in the House already has introduced a measure that would allow locker room owners to restrict access to a changing space if the person is transgender.

Montez described the measure as being “engineered to drive up fear and confusion … in a hurtful, dishonest and dehumanizing way.”

But Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Littleton, said the issue is difficult for parents who have not had that conversation yet with their children. Even though a person might identify as a woman and use the women’s locker room, they still might have male genitalia, which could confuse small children sharing the same space.

“I would just hope that we wouldn’t have to expose especially young children that just haven’t learned yet,” Ransom said. “I want my children to have an understanding and tolerance of everybody. But I’m a protective mom.”

The state’s seven gay lawmakers – all Democrats – already are at odds with Republicans about other LGBT bills this year. One bill has been introduced by Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, which would clean up conflicts in statute between civil unions and gay marriage, clarifying that one can’t marry someone in a civil union.

Republicans controlling the Senate have assigned the transgender measure to the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, widely known as a “kill committee” for unfavorable legislation by the controlling party.

“The only people that seem to be really hung up on it seem to work in this building,” Steadman said during an interview at the Colorado Capitol.

To be fair, House Democrats have assigned Ransom’s locker room bill to the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, also considered a kill committee for controlling Democrats in that chamber.

But Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose, said gay-marriage issues are not for the Legislature to decide. Coram opposed civil unions in 2012, despite having a gay son.

He told The Durango Herald that if he was faced with a ballot question legalizing civil unions or gay marriage, he would have supported it. But he doesn’t believe it is the Legislature’s place to decide, especially after voters banned gay marriage.

“I just didn’t think the Legislature has the right to overturn what the voters have done,” Coram said.

Concerning the transgender bill, he said, “It doesn’t rise to the top of my priority list, but if this comes forward, and it passes, I don’t care.”

Source:  The Durango Herald, “Transgender rights arrive at Capitol: Bill would make it easier to amend birth certificates,”  By Peter Marcus, Herald Denver Bureau, Article Last Updated: Saturday, January 17, 2015 12:11pm

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High court to hear gay marriage cases in April

WASHINGTON (AP) – Setting the stage for a potentially historic ruling, the Supreme Court says it will decide whether same-sex couples nationwide have a right to marry under the Constitution.

The justices said Friday they will review an appellate ruling that upheld bans on same-sex unions in four states.

The case will be argued in April and a decision is expected by late June.

FILE – In this June 26, 2013, file photo, gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. The justices might have to decide to jump in at their closed-door conference on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, if they want to resolve the legal debate over gay marriage in the next few months. The justices would hear the case in April, the last month for oral arguments before the next term begins in October. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee are among the 14 states where gay and lesbian couples are not allowed to marry.

The number of states that permit same-sex marriage has nearly doubled in three months as a result of federal and state court rulings. The justices’ decision last October to turn away same-sex marriage appeals allowed some of those rulings to take effect. Florida last week became the 36th state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The court is extending the time it usually allots for argument from an hour to two-and-a-half hours. The justices will consider two related questions. The first is whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The other is whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The appeals before the court come from gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The federal appeals court that oversees those four states upheld their same-sex marriage bans in November, reversing pro-gay rights rulings of federal judges in all four states.

Ten other states also prohibit such unions. In Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota and Texas, judges have struck down anti-gay marriage laws, but they remain in effect pending appeals. In Missouri, same-sex couples can marry in St. Louis and Kansas City only.

Louisiana is the only other state that has seen its gay marriage ban upheld by a federal judge. There have been no rulings on lawsuits in Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Source: The Associated Press (AP), “High court to hear gay marriage cases in April,” by Mark Sherman,Jan 16 2015

The Supreme Court Is Likely To Set Up The Same-Sex Marriage Showdown On Friday

Getty Images/Alex Wong

Getty Images/Alex Wong

On Friday, the Supreme Court justices will be meeting to decide whether to hear a case — or multiple cases — challenging a ban on same-sex couples’ marriages.

This will be the second time the justices have considered whether to take any of the cases out of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and/or Tennessee. When they did so on Jan. 9, they took no action on those cases, instead re-listing them for discussion on Friday.

This is a new practice by the court over the past year or so, re-listing cases they are considering taking once before accepting a case, called granting a writ of certiorari.

The justices did, however, deny an attempt by same-sex couples in Louisiana to have the Supreme Court hear their case before the appeals court — which heard their appeal on Jan. 9 — decided on the appeal.

Now, however, they are faced with choosing whether they will hear one or more of the four other cases — a decision that will foretell whether the justices intend to resolve the question of bans on marriage for same-sex couples nationwide by this June.

How did the justices get here?

In 2013, the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages to be unconstitutional. The court also dismissed an appeal of a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 marriage ban on a technicality.

In striking down DOMA’s ban on federal recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages in Edith Windsor’s case on June 26, 2013, however, the justices opened the floodgates for marriage equality.

Just short of six months later, on Dec. 20, 2013, a federal judge in Utah declared the state’s ban unconstitutional. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby refused to put his ruling on hold during the appeal, same-sex couples began marrying, and 2014 began with 18 states that allowed same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court eventually stepped in on Jan. 7, 2014 to stop marriages from proceeding while the case was appealed.

A year later, more than double as many states had marriage equality, with same-sex couples marrying in all of 35 states and in parts of two more.

Edie Windsor, left, and Roberta Kaplan speak onstage during the Pioneer’s Speakers Series at Paramount Screening Room at the Viacom Building on October 16, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images for Logo TV/Brad Barket

Marriage, marriage, everywhere.

The remarkable pace was the result of an unprecedented number of nearly unanimous opinions striking down state bans from Alaska to Wyoming to Florida and almost everywhere in between. For a time, in fact, it was only the one district court judge in Louisiana who upheld a state’s ban.

Several federal appeals courts began to weigh in over the summer of 2014, with Utah and Oklahoma’s bans being struck down by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and then Virginia’s ban being struck down by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals followed, striking down Indiana and Wisconsin’s bans.

The rulings in those states were on hold, though, until the Supreme Court announced on Oct. 6, 2014, that it would not be accepting any of the states’ appeals. The appeals court rulings would stand, and the bans had come to an end in those five states. Marriage equality spread to other states within those circuits, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it, too, was striking down bans — now in Idaho and Nevada.

Nevada officials were done fighting, but Idaho officials wanted to appeal the issue further. They asked the Supreme Court to keep the ruling on hold — as the justices had done with the first batch of cases. Now, though, things were different. The Supreme Court, after a short delay, denied Idaho’s request — giving no reasoning for their decision but sending ripples throughout the country.

More judges struck down more bans.

Then, on Nov. 6, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals broke the streak, upholding the bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, joined by Judge Deborah Cook, reversed the district court decisions in all four states — setting up the Supreme Court showdown that is likely to be announced on Friday.

Earlier in the year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had told people to keep an eye on the 6th Circuit ruling, noting that there would be more urgency for the Supreme Court to take a case if there was a circuit split — in other words, if the appeals courts disagreed on the issue.

Until the 6th Circuit ruling, the appeals courts were in agreement; after, a circuit split was created. In the weeks that followed, the plaintiffs in the various cases asked the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and hear their appeal.

April DeBoer, left, and Jayne Rowse, are challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex couples’ marriages. Getty Images/Bill Pugliano

What are the justices going to do?

The first rule of the Supreme Court is that there are, basically, no rules for the Supreme Court. The court can reverse prior decisions, and the court’s policies and practices can change if the justices so desire it. As a result of this, it’s difficult to know what the justices are going to do at any given moment.

With that giant caveat, the justices most likely are going to decide on Friday to take one or more cases for review this term — which would mean a decision would be expected by the end of June.

The pace and pure number of all of the cases making their way up the chain have, effectively, forced the justices’ hands on the matter. Even if they had hoped in 2013, by dismissing the California Prop 8 challenge, to put off the issue for another four or five years, the issue came back to them far more quickly than that. Even if they had hoped this past October, by denying certiorari in cases where the bans had been struck down, to put off the issue until next term, the 6th Circuit decision came quickly enough to bring the issue up to the justices a second time this term.

This time, there is no good way for the justices to dodge the issue. And, while the justices could keep re-listing the cases until it forces them into the next term, such a move seems unlikely given the current climate.

Assuming the justices are going to take at least one of the cases, they also must decide which one they will take.

The four cases in which plaintiffs are seeking certiorari are not the same.

In Michigan, a full trial was undertaken in response to April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse’s challenge, who are seeking to be married in Michigan. This case is, in simpler terms, a marriage case.

In Ohio and Tennessee, on the other hand, the plaintiffs are seeking recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages granted by other states. In Ohio, James Obergefell is seeking recognition of his marriage to John Arthur on Arthur’s death certificate. Other plaintiffs in Ohio, including Brittni Rogers and Brittani Henry, are seeking recognition of their marriage on their children’s birth certificates and for other purposes. In Tennessee, plaintiffs, including Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty, are seeking recognition of their marriages for a wide variety of purposes. The Tennessee plaintiffs also challenge whether Tennessee’s recognition ban violates their right to interstate travel.

In Kentucky, meanwhile, some plaintiffs, including Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza, challenge the state’s marriage ban while other plaintiffs, including Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon, challenge the marriage recognition ban.

If the justices are looking to the lawyers to help them decide which case to take — an issue examined at length in a recent blockbuster Reuters report — then the Kentucky plaintiffs’ addition of Stanford Law School’s Jeffrey Fisher to their legal team and the Tennessee plaintiffs’ help from Ropes and Gray’s Douglas Hallward-Driemeier could be a bonus for their teams.

On the other hand, there are national LGBT advocacy group lawyers on all four cases, in addition to local counsel, many of whom have significant experience with LGBT legal issues: Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ Mary Bonauto is helping with the Michigan plaintiffs; Lambda Legal and the ACLU are assisting with the Ohio plaintiffs; National Center for Lesbian Rights lawyers are on the Tennessee plaintiffs’ case; and the ACLU is also helping with the Kentucky plaintiffs.

If the justices want the simplest case, with the most detailed record, in order to resolve the issue, the Michigan marriage case would be the case to take. If the justices want a single legal team that would present clear facts about both marriage and marriage recognition claims, then Kentucky is the way to go. Finally, the justices could take some combination of the four cases, either consolidating the cases to be heard as one, letting the lawyers figure out how argument time will be split, or hearing cases in succession.

In any event, after Friday’s conference, if a decision is made to take one or more cases, the decision is expected to be announced that afternoon.

There is a slight — but unlikely — possibility that the court could wait until Tuesday, Jan. 20, to announce whether it will be hearing a case, but that is unlikely. Usually, at this point in the court’s term, such an announcement would be expected Friday afternoon.

Then, if a case is accepted, the timeline starts for the filing of briefs by both sides and by outside parties, and arguments would be set — likely in April.

Finally, a decision would be expected before the court adjourns for its summer recess — usually by late June.

UPDATE

This post has been updated to clarify the Supreme Court’s dismissal of California’s Proposition 8 appeal. Jan. 15, 2015, at 12:44 a.m.

Source: BuzzFeed, “The Supreme Court Is Likely To Set Up The Same-Sex Marriage Showdown On Friday,”  posted on Jan. 14, 2015, at 10:25 p.m, 

 

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Support Their Kid Wearing Suits

**It shouldn’t take “celebrity” to raise awareness to these issues, but it does help to elevate the conversation to a level of consciousness.

Brangelina’s oldest biological child prefers suits to dresses, and wants to be called John. And the famous couple is totally cool with it.

John Jolie-Pitt at the premiere of 'Unbroken'

John Jolie-Pitt at the premiere of ‘Unbroken’

The oldest biological child of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, named Shiloh and assigned female at birth, has for years been stepping out at red-carpet events and family outings with the multicultural family in sharp suits, boyish attire, and ever-shorter haircuts.

Around the age of 3, the now-8-year-old informed the family that they want to be called John — and everyone in the family has obliged, according to U.K. newspaper The Telegraph. (As such, this article will use the name John Jolie-Pitt, as well.)

When Pitt recently walked the red carpet at the premiere of Jolie’s latest directorial effort,Unbroken, the star was accompanied by three of his children — Pax, Maddox, and John — all dressed in suits and ties.

Jolie first discussed her first-born’s tendency toward things generally considered masculine in 2010, when the Academy Award-winning actress toldVanity Fair that  her child “wants to be a boy. … She thinks she’s one of the brothers.”

The Telegraph used its recent coverage of the Jolie-Pitt family to offer readers advice on how to respond to children of any age who express a desire to be a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth. Drawing on an interview with clinical psychologist Linda Blair, the newspaper stresses that it’s most important for parents to accept their child exactly as they are, and not overreact to what some could see as cross-gender tendencies.

It’s possible that children who consistently express a desire to be another gender (rather than simply a preference for toys and clothing commonly associated with the opposite gender) will grow up to be transgender or otherwise gender-nonconforming, but they may also just be exploring their own identity.

“To explore what it means to be both genders is also totally normal,” Blair told the Telegraph. “But the problem is we have suppressed it for so many generations, that people are still uncomfortable with it. You can’t become what you are until you know what you’re not.”

Whether the young Jolie-Pitt will grow up to identify anywhere along a gender-nonconforming or LGBT spectrum is impossible to tell, but one thing is certain — having parents that embrace a child’s curiosity, independence, and self-direction is sure to make that young person’s life easier as they go through the fundamentally human process of discovering who they truly are.

Editor’s note: This article uses “they” as a gender-neutral, singular pronoun in an effort to respect the young Jolie-Pitt’s gender identity, whatever that may end up being. 

Source: The Advocate Magazine, “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Support Their Kid Wearing Suits,” By Sunnivie Brydum, December 20, 2014, 2:53 PM ET