Adoption by Same-Sex Couples

Although a March 2007 report compiled by the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute at University of California at Los Angeles School of Law stated that 65,000 adopted children are being raised by same-sex parents in the United States, adoption by gay and lesbian couples is still contested in some states.

According to an Urban Institute report, laws in most states don't specifically ban adoption by same-sex couples. Washington D.C. and eleven states have decreed that sexual orientation cannot be a factor in adoptions by same-sex couples. Currently, three states do deny the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt, though only one does so explicitly.

In Mississippi, single gays and lesbians can adopt; however, same-sex couples cannot. Utah has a statute barring unmarried couples from adopting or becoming foster parents. Florida is the only state that specifically bans homosexuals from adopting, though they do allow them to become foster parents.

Many people oppose the idea of families headed by a same-sex couple for religious reasons, while others disagree and feel that many children awaiting adoption would benefit from opening adoption to same-sex couples and increasing the number of potential adopting families. Public opinion about the issue is almost evenly split among Americans. In a March 2006 Pew Research Center poll, 46 percent of Americans support gay and lesbian adoption, which is a rise from 38 percent in 1999. This shift may have an influence in adoption policy in coming years, and prospective adoptive parents and interested parties should keep apprised of proposed changes in their state's legislation.

There are many sources of information regarding same-sex adoption, including Web sites and books, some of which can be found in the Appendices at the end of this book.

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