Marriage Equality Advances; LGBT Adoption – Not So Much
PHOENIX – Two U.S. Supreme Court rulings have advanced the cause of marriage equality, and 12 states now allow same-sex marriage.
But what about LGBT couples and individuals who want to adopt children?
Ellen Kahn, director of Human Rights Campaign Family Project, says that too has opened up some, but she says much more needs to be done.
"If you call and say, 'I'm a gay man. My partner and I are interested in adopting,'” she explains, “there are still places that will say, 'No, thank you,' and hang up the phone."
She says even in the most conservative states there are pathways to LGBT adoption, and work on expanding it continues in legislatures and courts.
Kahn says she believes a corner has been turned and as marriage equality spreads, adoption will correspondingly become easier.
Becky Fawcett is co-founder of HelpUsAdopt.org, which raises money and offers grants to help people with the enormous costs of adoption. A non-discriminatory policy has been a cornerstone of the group’s work, but it hasn't always been popular.
"We do have some donors who leave because of our stance on what a family is,” Fawcett says. “And I have lost prospective board members for our stance. And I have received hate mail because of our stance."
She says around 15 to 20 percent of her group's grants have gone to LGBT adopters, but she wishes more would apply.
Ellen Kahn sees hesitancy, too.
"A lot of LGBT folks and same-sex couples who want to adopt are afraid to take that first step,” she says, “because, you know, there is a fear that 'We're going to be scrutinized differently than other folks,' or that 'We're going to just be met with a no.'"
Kahn believes the momentum in the state-by-state move toward marriage equality can only make things better regarding adoption.