A state Senator in Kentucky has introduced a bill that will ban unmarried couples from adoption.
Human rights group The Fairness Campaign called Senator Gary Tapp’s bill “deceptively-worded.”
“It is identical to a measure recently passed in Arkansas that prohibits adoption or foster care by an applicant ‘cohabiting with a sexual partner outside of a marriage that is legally valid in Kentucky’,” the group said.
“The language of the bill renders not just same-gender couples unfit to parent, but countless heterosexual couples that could serve as “next of kin” placement for children in need.
“The state would be forced to provide millions in additional foster care, an irresponsible burden to add to the Commonwealth’s economic crisis.”
In November Arkansas voters approved Act 1, a citizen-initiated ballot measure statutorily banning all unmarried, cohabitating couples from fostering or adopting children.
This act includes all same-sex couples because regardless of their intentions they cannot legally marry in the state.
It is estimated that gay and lesbian parents are raising 4% of all adopted children in the United States, approximately 65,500 children.
Three percent are being raised by single lesbians and gay men and 1% by same-sex couples.
The Census in 2000 estimates indicate that 6% of children in non-kin care, with caretakers other than extended family members, are being raised by gay, lesbian, and bisexual foster parents, a total of 14,134 of the nearly 500,000 children living in foster care on any given day.
Gay and lesbian foster parents are more likely to raise children with disabilities—32% of all foster children with disabilities reside with gay and lesbian parents.
Florida is the only state that has a law specifically disallowing gay individuals from adopting.
In Nebraska, although no statutory law exists, a 1995 directive of the then director of the Department of Social Service prohibits adoption by gay individuals as well as individuals who are cohabitating in an unmarried relationship.
In addition, North Dakota law permits child-placing agencies to discriminate against prospective adoptive parents based on religious or moral objection, while Utah law gives preference to married couples over single adults in adoption placement decisions. Both of these laws may have the effect of restricting adoption by gay individuals.
Conversely, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York have policies prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the adoption process.
An individual’s sexual orientation is not a basis for exclusion in Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington DC.