Advocates of a bill that would update Massachusetts' parentage laws are urging legislators to pass the bill before the end of the legislative session this summer.

Dozens rallied in the rain outside the State House Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of pride month and to bring attention to the Massachusetts Parentage Act, which was revised and refiled this year and is currently stalled in the Judiciary Committee. Advocates say the state's current statutes have been on the books for more than 40 years and do not represent many of the diverse types of families in Massachusetts. They say the act would protect children no matter the circumstances of their birth, or the sexual orientation, gender or marital status of their parents.

Specifically, the bill would provide clear standards for establishing parentage of children born through surrogacy or assisted reproduction technology, including in vitro fertilization. It would also establish a process for de facto parents — those who live with and care for a child but are not genetically related to that child — to become equal, legal parents.

Polly Crozier, a lawyer with LGBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders said while Massachusetts is the first state to legalize gay marriage, the state lags behind the rest of New England in providing this legal protection.

"I think that post–marriage equality, we didn't do that kind of foundational work to protect the children born into these families," she said. "Legal parentage is that core relationship between a parent and a child, the core bedrock of stability and well-being for children across the course of their life. Every right and responsibility flows from that relationship: decision-making, medical decision–making, inheritance rights, child support."

Seventeen-year-old James Nichols-Worley of Southborough spoke at the rally in support of the Massachusetts Parentage Act. He was the first person in Massachusetts to have two fathers listed on his birth certificate as his legal parents — a process that required his fathers to obtain a pre-birth court order.

"My parents were married the year I was born, and I'm very proud of them," he said. "And I'm just astounded that it's taken us so long to get it right in Massachusetts. We need to get it right."

Crozier is a lesbian mom who has had personal experience with the lack of clarity in Massachusetts' parentage laws.

"One of our children died unexpectedly, and the forms in Massachusetts hadn't yet been updated, so I wasn't reflected as an equal legal parent on the death certificate. They had to go back into City Hall and struggle with the Registry of Vital Records to get those forms finally updated," she said. "These are the kinds of things that I think people don't realize that LGBTQ parents just kind of put up with, this kind of second-class status that not only makes our kids vulnerable, but it's really demoralizing and really sends a message that we're not fully included as community members in the commonwealth."

Support for the act comes from the Boston City Council, which passed a resolution supporting it in December, as well as from figures such as Attorney General Maura Healey. "Massachusetts is the only New England state that hasn’t updated its parentage laws," Healey wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "It’s well past time to provide LGBTQ+ families with equal access to all parentage protections."

Newton Rep. Kay Khan, the lead sponsor of the Massachusetts Parentage Act in the House, told rally participants that it's important to get the bill passed in the current legislative session, which ends July 31.

"I'm really hopeful that the Judiciary Committee will act," she told GBH News. "There just has to be a better, clearer route to establish parentage."