Current Affairs

Legal group describes results of gay adoption restrictions

PinkNews Staff Writer April 21, 2006
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The American Civil Liberties Union has released a new edition of its publication “Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting”

The legal group compiles decades of social science research, the positions of the major child health and welfare organisations and government data to show how children are hurt by restrictions on parenting by lesbian and gay men.

“There are more than 100,000 foster children across the country in need of families,” said Leslie Cooper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project and one of the authors of the book.

“As a society, we cannot afford to turn away the many lesbians and gay men who are willing and able to provide a loving home for a child.”

Social scientists have been researching the children of lesbian and gay parents for more than 20 years. This body of research, summarised in the book, proves that parents’ sexual orientation and gender don’t matter to children’s development; what matters is having committed, nurturing parents.

Armed with government data as well as examples from state agency websites that include profiles of waiting children, the book explains that child welfare workers across the country are desperate to place the many children in need of homes. Child welfare policy requires that all potential adoptive parents be thoroughly screened. Laws that exclude gay people from consideration as adoptive or foster parents unnecessarily reduce the already insufficient pool of available homes.

The book, which includes a foreword by Shay Bilchik, president and chief executive of the Child Welfare League of America, explains that as a result of the child welfare crisis our country is facing and overwhelming social science research demonstrating the positive outcomes of children raised by gay parents, every major child health and welfare organisation has issued public statements opposing laws that restrict the ability of gay people to parent.

In addition to the Child Welfare League of America, these organisations include the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Paediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

The new edition also includes a chapter devoted to debunking the misinformation being spread by opponents of parenting by gay people. Those interested in the current law on gay parenting will also find an overview of states with laws that restrict the rights of gay people to parent (Florida is still the only state with a law that bans all gay people from adopting), and states that have fair parenting laws for gay people, as well as how states treat gay people in determinations about custody and visitation rights.

“On the whole, the law is improving for lesbians and gay parents and their children,” said Paul Cates, co-author and Director of Public Education for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project. “Most states now recognise that it is wrong to use sexual orientation as an excuse to deny parents custody and visitation and many states now allow both partners in same-sex relationships to adopt the children they are raising together.”

© 2006 GayWired; All Rights Reserved.

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