Chappaqua attorney Kristen Browde was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to the 22-member Love Makes a Family Council, part of a campaign to help legalize gestational surrogacy in New York.
Browde, one of five Democratic candidates vying for the nomination in the 93rd Assembly District, has been board president of the LGBT Bar Association of New York and is a national leader on LGBTQ issues.
“Surrogacy is how couples with fertility issues and LGBTQ New Yorkers get their families started,” Browde said in a statement. “I’m grateful that Gov. Cuomo is standing with us – as he has consistently – and I know that like us, he won’t stop until this landmark legislation is the law in New York.”
Currently, state law prohibits gestational surrogacy, creating barriers for the LGBTQ community and families struggling with fertility. There are 47 states that permit gestational surrogacy. The newly-appointed council will support providing New York with the strongest laws in the nation for surrogates and parents.
The campaign will also include a petition where New Yorkers can endorse Cuomo’s proposal, which he advanced in the last two executive budgets, as well as a new campaign website at https://www.governor.ny.gov/programs/legalize-gestational-surrogacy that includes testimonial videos.
Cuomo said in a statement that it is “shameful” that New York is one of just three states that denies families with fertility issues and those from the LGBTQ community the ability to use surrogates to families.
Currently, paid surrogacy in New York is punishable by a fine, and unpaid surrogacy agreements are unenforceable and not legally binding.
In addition to lifting the ban, it would also create a Surrogates’ Bill of Rights, which will guarantee the strongest protections in the nation for surrogates; establish criteria for surrogacy contracts to protect all parties; and eliminate burdensome and expensive barriers for “second parent adoption,” instead requiring a single visit to court to recognize legal parenthood while the child is in utero.
In 2017, Browde was the first transgender candidate to run for elected office in New York with her campaign for New Castle supervisor. She also has had a long and distinguished professional career and has involved in various causes. Before practicing law, Browde was an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and anchor. She is also a trustee of SAG-AFTRA’s $2.5 billion pension plan and a director of Equality NY. Both positions have led Browde to work with the state legislature and governor to enact major legislation, including amendments to New York State’s human rights and criminal laws as well as a ban on the use of non-compete clauses in employee contracts for broadcasters.