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Barriers to LGBT Adoptions

Sadly, for one Florida family, adopting the child they have wanted to welcome into their home since they first met him in 2011 has proven to be difficult, in spite of Florida’s ban on gay adoption being overturned. Although Florida is more progressive on this issue than other states such as Michigan and Texas, some same-sex couples are still facing hurdles with the adoption process.

States Circumventing Supreme Court Decision

As this August 19th USA TODAY article notes, adopting children from private adoption agencies has not typically been an issue for same-sex couples, however, adopting from foster homes has proven to be more difficult. Although the recent Supreme Court decision has been helping to change that in some states, other states which have laws limiting joint adoption to a “husband and wife” has resulted in a lack of equality when it comes to adoption rights.

Some states (such as Michigan) have even gone so far as to propose legislation which would allow certain contractors that oversee state adoptions to refuse to let same-sex individuals adopt children if it conflicts with the organization’s religious beliefs. In addition, not being able to marry in states like Florida until this year has made it difficult for same-sex couples to file the adoption paperwork together. Even as recently as this year, advocates had to go to Florida’s capitol to testify against a bill that would have protected state contractors’ ability to turn same-sex couples away in adoption proceedings. Fortunately, although the bill passed in the House, it died in the Senate. And while some states (such as Alabama) are allowing same-sex couples to adopt, they are still placing barriers in the way, such as requiring longer waiting periods for these couples.

In states that are making it difficult, couples are having to limit the formal adoption to one person only, thus requiring the other parent to then go through a second parent adoption, much like a stepparent adoption. Fortunately, the Florida legislature passed a bill that formally removed the 1977 ban on gay adoption (previously, the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled the ban unconstitutional, still warranting action from legislature to remove it from law).

Research Supports Allowing Adoption for Same-Sex Couples

Research undertaken by Columbia University this year found that children who have same-sex parents are not at an increased risk of having their well-being negatively affected–a reason some religious institutions cite in discriminating against adoption for same-sex couples. Sadly, there is still no way to ensure that same-sex couples are not discriminated against with particular adoption agencies and foster programs because it is so easy to prioritize some couples over others.

Adoption Rights for LGBT Couples

If you are a married LGBT couple, you have every right to adopt a child jointly, and should not have to go through single parent and second parent adoption. Sandra Bonfiglio is proud to serve LGBT communities and protect their equal rights when it comes to family planning and adoption. Contact our offices today—we serve clients in Broward County, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale.

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