Friday, June 26, 2015

New York Senator Introduces Bill to Eliminate LGBT Bias in Adoption

What is the legal landscape for same-sex couples looking to adopt a child? 

Adoption is a highly-regulated matter, and is accordingly treated very differently in the various U.S. jurisdictions. Some states, including New York, have explicitly prohibited any form of discrimination in the adoption process, and prohibit adoption agencies from refusing adoption consideration based on one’s status as an LGBT individual. Other states have taken the opposite view, and are openly biased against same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child in need of a family. 

In the eyes of U.S. Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), this bias simply must end – and the proposed Every Child Deserves a Family Act is drafted to yank federal funding from any adoption agency refusing to work with LGBT applicants solely based on their sexual orientation and/or marital status. 

Basics of the Act

There are a variety of avenues through which children are adopted in the United States. In many cases, children are adopted through the foster care system – often by the foster parents themselves. Other children are required to live in a shelter or facility until a family becomes available, while some remain wards of the state until age 18 and are never offered the opportunity of experiencing a cohesive family. 

In several states, LGBT individuals or couples are either subjected to more rigorous evaluation standards, or are excluded from eligibility all together. Under the proposed Act, any agency that accepts federal funding for assistance with adoption services would be prohibited from engaging in any discriminatory practices with regard to vetting potential foster or adoptive parents – or the agency’s funding would be revoked. 

The statistics surrounding un-adopted children are staggering, with as many as 23,000 American youths aging out of the system before ever being adopted. Currently, there are over 102,000 children awaiting adoption in the United States. 

If you are considering adoption, or would like to discuss the New York laws surrounding adoption procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Nassau County family law attorney Howard Leff today at (516)739-7500.

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