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Same-sex adoption still not straightforward despite marriages

Despite an historic ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, it’s important to remember that not all aspects of the law have necessarily been made equal for gay and lesbian couples. For instance, two men wanting to adopt a children have brought their story to the media, because even with the changes that have been made, adoption itself hasn’t been made much easier for same-sex couples. The struggle to adopt has been highlighted to hopefully address the issue for these, now legally married, individuals.

While same-sex couples can now legally marry under federal law, same-sex couples still struggle to adopt children. They may be able to from private or so-called gay-friendly agencies, but trying to adopt from foster care or from agencies that prefer opposite-sex couples can be difficult. In some states, there are laws in place that limit joint adopts to husbands and wives, so even though a couple is married, the legal terminology allows them to be excluded.

In Michigan, there is another good example of how difficult it can be for same-sex couples to adopt. Before the Supreme Court ruled on the same-sex marriage law, the state passed a law to allow tax-payer funded contractors overseeing gay or lesbian adoptions to refuse the adoption if the organization disagreed on religious grounds.

Prior to the same-sex marriage ruling, all but two states limited or restricted the rights of same-sex couples to adopt. These limitations are now being eliminated as states change their policies due to the Supreme Court’s decision, with many states moving toward gender-neutral terminology in the documents for adoption.

Source: Flagler Live, “Despite Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, Gay Adoption Rights Remain Restricted in Florida,” Aug. 19, 2015

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