These States May Make it More Difficult for LGBT Couples to Adopt

Pending legislation could have dire effects on LGBT partners hoping to be parents—and on thousands of unadopted kids

Updated 04/24/18

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When same-sex marriage was legalized back in 2015, gay couples around the nation rejoiced in the right to finally be able to start families recognized by the law. "Today is a big step in our march toward equality," then-President Obama tweeted. "#LoveWins." But love is still fighting. And, what's phase two for the LGBT community building their families? Adoption.

The Supreme Court voted in 2016 that same-sex couples are indeed entitled to adopt nationwide, but battles on the state-level continue to arise.

Earlier this year, a Georgia bill—that provided legal protection for faith-based adoption agencies refusing to place children in homes with family dynamics or lifestyles that did not align with their religious beliefs—passed in the Senate. While the religious exemption language was eventually removed, its message about persisting attitudes towards LGBT adoption efforts was heard loud and clear.

And now it's being echoed in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, reports The Daily Beast. All three states will soon consider legislation that also deals with religiously-affiliated child placement agencies, and their prerogative to refuse assisting same-sex couples in their adopting or fostering endeavors—citing "religious freedom."

It's interesting to note that the Centennial state has titled their bill "Colorado Children First Act," and yet research from Cornell suggests that "based on over three decades of peer-reviewed research, having a gay or lesbian parent does not harm children."

In fact, many LGBT advocates are making the case that should these laws go into effect, LGBT partners hoping to be parents aren't the only victims here; what about the 100,000 plus unadopted children waiting for homes?

As American Civil Liberties Union attorney Leslie Cooper told TDB, "What makes this flavor of anti-LGBT bill especially pernicious is that the people who bear the brunt of such laws are the children in the state foster care system who lose out on families that they desperately need."

Seven states—Michigan, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia—already passed adoption exemption laws back in 2017, notes USA Today, and in the states, including Oregon and New York, that do have LGBT protection, the literature only addresses sexual orientation alone.

What does this mean for the broader LGBT community?

As TDB keenly observes, "Because the language in these anti-LGBT bills is so broad—full of sweeping appeals to 'moral conviction' and 'sincerely-held religious beliefs'—they could also allow religiously-affiliated child placement agencies to deny not just cisgender gay, lesbian, and bisexual parents, but transgender parents, too."

As we await decisions in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, it's apparent that while all victories deserve to be celebrated, the war on love is far from over.

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