Archive for the ‘adoption’ Category
BY: JESS GAFKOWITZ
Since 2010, I’ve been eagerly tracking the status of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, a bill that if passed into law, would benefit the lives of thousands of people.
Over 120,000 foster children in the U.S. are waiting to be adopted. However, some folks are being kept from fulfilling their dream of adopting a child based on their marital status because of discriminatory state adoption laws or individual screening and placement policies carried out by agencies throughout the country. Unmarried different-sex and same-sex couples are often left out, even though many would be great parents. They just need to be given that chance! Every potential parent should be screened carefully, just like any other. Only the best interests of each child should determine who is right for them.
The ECDFA is a conscious effort to prohibit further discrimination in adoption or foster care placement on the basis of marital status, as well as the sexual orientation or gender identity of prospective adoptive or foster parents.
YOU can help ensure states and agencies treat all children and families equally by taking this simple action today:
Florida Governor Rick Scott says his “personal position” is that only “married couples” should adopt children. Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service details federal tax benefits for people who adopt children.
An international expert says the state of Vermont could launch a single-payer health system. Meanwhile, Vermont’s 2006 health reforms seem to be covering more people (no data on marital status, however).
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza recently struck down Arkansas’ 2008 adoption ban that prevented same-sex and other unmarried cohabiting couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents.
According to an article published by the Associated Press, “the judge wrote that the law infringed upon a ‘fundamental right.’ Piazza said protecting children is in the state’s interest, but the ban ‘is not narrowly tailored to the least restrictive means necessary to serve the state’s interest in determining what is in the best interest of the child.’”
Smart move, Arkansas! – We have Judge Chris Piazza to thank for that!
Over 129,000 foster children in the U.S. are hoping to be adopted. However, some people who want to be parents are currently being kept from fulfilling their dream of adopting a child, solely because of their marital status. Many of these individuals would be great parents, they just need to be given that chance.
Each potential parent should be screened carefully, just like any other. Only the best interests of each child should determine who is right for them.
The recently proposed Every Child Deserves a Family Act would require states and agencies to treat all children and families equally.
For more information, read a personal story by AtMP member, Freddie O’Connell. Read a press release and full text of the bill. Visit our main adoption page.
Thanks to Kyla at the National Council for Research on Women for alerting me that this coming Sunday marks the 15th Annual National Parent’s Day. NCRW will celebrate with a blog fest on family diversity – look for a guest post by AtMP’s own graduate research intern!
Just in time for Parent’s Day, it is great to learn from Cathy at the National Center for Lesbian Rights that, in Washington DC and soon in New Mexico,
when a woman bears a child conceived by artificial insemination, and her spouse or unmarried partner consents in writing to the insemination, the consenting spouse or partner is a legal parent. That person’s name will appear as a parent on the child’s birth certificate.
Congrats and thanks to our friend Nancy Polikoff for helping draft this model legislation!
Just last November, Arkansas managed to pass an adoption ban. This year, both Kentucky and Tennessee are making the same attempt!
Luckily, Kentucky’s Senate Bill 68 is now DEAD. Though the same unfortunately cannot be said for Tennessee.
Tennessee has been trying to pass an adoption ban since early this decade.
DeBerry (D) and Bunch (R) have proposed the bill, HB 0605/SB 0078 earlier this year. This bill is intended to prohibit ALL unmarried cohabiting couples from adopting a child.
AtMP will keep a close eye on the progress of HB 0605/ SB 0078 in Tennessee and keep members updated!
Despite all the hype about the power of the courts to change the course of American law and culture, and all the hype about ‘activist judges,’ many legal experts see the courts as ‘lagging indicators’ of cultural change. In other words, judges (especially the Supreme Court) generally won’t rule in favor of a cultural shift unless they believe the culture has already shifted that direction.
So, one way to guess how close we are getting to fairness and equality for unmarried people is to keep an eye on the courts. Recently, state courts offered us two small steps forward and one step back:
Yesterday, AtMP sent boxes of chocolates to two Iowa judges who ruled that it is “arbitrary and irrational” to assume that an unmarried sex offender is a greater threat than a married sex offender. They wrote the dissenting opinion, so this is only a small step forward.
Despite the new adoption ban, an Arkansas judge has given temporary custody of a child to the child’s unmarried grandmother, who lives with her same-sex partner of nine years and is the only relative able and willing to adopt her grandchild. This is a small step too.
But a Minnesota court ruled that it’s ok for gyms to charge married and unmarried people different membership fees. While not as life-changing as child custody, these fee differentials really bug lots of people.
Perhaps the winter winds are blowing aside some blindfolds, making it easier for opinion leaders to see that bad laws hurt real families.
Senator Bob Barr, in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, has noticed that “the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws — including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran’s benefits — has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.” He should also have noted that this club prevents federal agencies from recognizing unmarried different-sex partnerships. I would love to take a small slice of credit for Barr’s conversion, hoping that my pitch to ditch DOMA on Reason TV helped persuade some of the libertarian voters he was trying to court.
The New York Times editorial page has noticed that “Under Arkansas law, people convicted of major crimes, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, remain eligible to adopt children or become foster parents. Single people who have no partner — or who have a large number of casual sex partners — are also eligible. Anyone who is in a committed relationship, gay or straight, but is not married is automatically barred.”