Same-Sex Couples Continue Fight for Equal Adoptive Rights
Do current laws prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting children? Although the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual (LGBT) community has made significant legal strides, the answer to that question remains yes and no. The federal government does not ban LGBT adoption; gay and lesbian couples, however, may face legal struggles on a state-to-state basis. Which states permit same-sex partners and/or spouses to adopt, and does the adoption process differ for prospective LGBT parents?
Utah and Mississippi Prohibit Gays From Adopting
Twenty-one U.S. states and Washington D.C. allow at least second-parent adoption. Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka are among the first gay celebrities to adopt twins in the public eye. (Harris first announced bringing twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace home on Twitter in 2010.) Many same-sex couples, however, continue to fight for adoptive rights.
Utah and Mississippi ban gay adoption altogether. Other states do not explicitly prohibit gays from adopting, but do not make it easy, either. For example, Michigan does not allow unmarried couples to adopt and currently bans gay and lesbian marriages, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Arizona, on the other hand, typically grants preference to married couples. Gay couples can legally adopt, but they will be relatively low on lists of prospective candidates.
What Gay and Lesbian Couples Need to Know Before Adopting
The 2004 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System reveals that 65,500 adopted children are raised by at least one gay parent. If gay adoption is legal in your area, family law specialists and social workers remind same-sex prospective parents to be completely honest, especially during home studies (a mandatory assessment of adoptive parents’ homes). Although many couples were once forced to lie to avoid discrimination, doing so may constitute fraud. Schedule a family lawyer free consultation to answer questions about gay adoption, or for guidance throughout the process. What is a family lawyer? Although family lawyers assist with divorce, many also work in collaborative family law (or help bring families together through adoption).
LGBT adoption is still a work in process. Although states continue to rule in favor of gay adoption, others are taking steps to make same-sex adoption increasingly difficult. Speak to family law specialists to help guide you through the often complicated adoption process. Visit here for more information.