Recent attempts by as many as 16 states(1) to ban homosexual partner adoption have put the issue at the forefront of what could be the next culture clash. According to a 2000 census there were 601,209 same-sex couples living together in the United States; one third of the female same-sex couples and one-fifth of the male smae-sex couples reported having children under eighteen in the home(2). Many state legislatures (e.g. Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Michigan) which are working to ban same-sex couple adoption believe they are following up on successful banning of homosexual marriage. The drive to ban gay adoption has been led most strongly by the christian right, who believe homosexuality is unnatural and ungodly(3,4). Groups that have released policy statements encouraging state legislatures to allow gay adoption include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), the American Academy of Family Psychiatry (AAIP), and the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)(H). All of these policy statements were justified by past and recent scientific studies, studies the Christian right have rebuked as scientifically unsound. The Christian right believes people are getting caught up in what they call "scientific activism".
Present status of gay adoption in the U.S.
There are a few different forms of adoption which a homosexual individual can partake in, and a variety of different bans in different states working to deny adoption. There is single adoption, where a person adopts a child when unmarried, most states allow individual homosexuals to adopt children. There is joint adoption, where an unmarried couple petitions the court to adopt a child, many states are attempting to ban this. Lastly there is second-parent adoption, where one parent already has legal rights to the child and the second petitions for joint rights, in states the ban same-sex joint adoptions many couples attempt to get joint rights by this means. It is also important to note the difference between foster kids and adopted kids; foster children are still owned by the state and the state has all rights to them, almost all the states allow homosexuals to become foster parents(5).
Although nearly all states have some amount of ambiguity in their laws that hinder same-sex couple adoption, some states have more explicitly stated their laws. Florida has the harshest ban in the country, it states "No person eligible to adopt under this statute may adopt it that person is a homosexual." Florida allows homosexual foster parents. but does not allow homosexual singles or couples to adopt children. In Mississippi their laws clearly state "Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited." Mississippi allows homosexual singles to adopt children but not couples. Michigan law is a bit more elusive in its presentation of its laws, it explains that married couples are allowed to adopt, but under Michigan law homosexual marriage is not recognized so homosexual couples can not adopt. Michigan allows single homosexuals to adopt but not couples unless they are married, and Michigan does not recoginize homosexual marriages of other states. Also in Michigan, the Michigan Chief County Judge Arhie Brown issued a memo banning judges from awarding second-parent rights to same-sex couples. In Utah no child shall be placed in a home "cohabited" by homosexuals, cohabiting is defined as living together and involved in a sexual realtionship. Utah does not allow joint same-sex couple adoption, but it does allow adoption by single homosexuals. Arkansas law prohibits children to be placed in foster care if any adult memeber of that person's household is a homosexual. Arkansas does not have laws...
References: 2. Cooper, Leslie. & Cates, Paul. Too High A Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting. New York: American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, 2006.
7. Ryan, Scott., Pearlmatter, Sue., & Groza, Victor. "Coming Out of the Closet: Opening Agencies to Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents." Social Work. 49.1 (2004): 85-95
9. Kindle, Peter. & Erich, Stephan. "Perceptions of Social Support Among Heterosexual and Homosexual Adopters." Families in Society. 86.4 (2005): 541-546
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