Friday, October 23, 2009

LGBT Adoption

The Center’s initiative directed at the LGBT community to encourage consideration of adoption coincides with the adoption anti-discrimination bill introduced by U.S. Representative from California Pete Stark. His bill would restrict federal funds for states that discriminate in adoption or foster care on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Stark’s legislation is a response to the 25,000 children each year who “age out” of the child welfare system without a permanent home.

We agree with Representative Stark that members of the LGBT community could reduce those numbers dramatically if they felt welcome as prospective adopters. The Center is working with adoption agencies to make that happen.

It is estimated that 2 million lesbian, gay or bisexual persons are interested in adoption. The backlog of children in foster care who desperately want to belong to a family could benefit dramatically if they could be “matched” with some of those individuals or couples.

There are nine states—Florida, Mississippi, Utah, Michigan, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin—that explicitly prohibit LGBT couples from adopting children. This condition exists despite the numerous studies indicating that children who grow up in gay and lesbian homes are as well adjusted, happy and healthy as those raised by heterosexual parents. It is love and caring, not sexual orientation, that make the difference in the way a child grows up.

Representative Stark believes chances of the legislation passing this Congress are “pretty good,” and said that a hearing could take place this year in a House Ways & Means subcommittee. He is looking for a Republican co-sponsor for the legislation, then will work on getting Senate companion legislation introduced.

The Center supports the legislation. We hope you do too. You can respond to us here, reach out to your Representatives and Senators and/or contact someone in a “red state” and ask them to contact members of Congress or their senators, pointing out that this legislation will make a difference in the way thousands of children grow up.

No comments: