Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day

Labor Day is fast approaching and we’re looking forward to celebrating the last holiday of the summer. (It seems like only yesterday that we fired up the grill to barbeque on Memorial Day.)

The gay and lesbian community in Vermont has another reason to celebrate this weekend. At midnight last Monday, a new law went into effect allowing same sex marriages. This brings to six the number of states in which this is legal. Along with Vermont, marriages for same sex couples are currently being performed in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Maine will allow same sex marriages this month; New Hampshire on January 1, 2010.

It is too soon to see how the new law will affect adoption by gay men and lesbians in Vermont, where LGBT individuals and same-sex couples may petition to adopt and a same sex partner may petition to adopt the partner’s child.

The number of gay and lesbian parents in the U.S. has been rising. In 1976 there were between 300,00 and 500,000 gay and lesbian parents. In 1990, an estimated 6 to 14 million children had a gay or lesbian parent.

According to statistics from the 2000 U.S. Census, the National Survey of Family Growth (2002) and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting Systems (2004):

  • An estimate 2 million gay and lesbian people are interested in adopting.

  • An estimated 65,5000 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

  • More than 16,000 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent in California, the highest number among the states.

  • Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the U.S

  • Gay and lesbian foster parents are raising approximately three percent of the nation’s foster children.

  • An estimated 13,000 foster children are living with lesbian or gay parents in the U.S.

As we celebrate the traditional end of summer holiday, we think of the 130,000 children in foster care through the country waiting to be adopted and hope that by Labor Day 2010, many of them will be in “forever” homes.

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