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Marriage Equality Advances; LGBT Adoption – Not So Much

PHOTO: As marriage equality gains momentum thanks to Supreme Court rulings, adoption by LGBT families and individuals lags behind. But advocates feel a corner has been turned. Courtesy HelpUsAdopt.org
PHOTO: As marriage equality gains momentum thanks to Supreme Court rulings, adoption by LGBT families and individuals lags behind. But advocates feel a corner has been turned. Courtesy HelpUsAdopt.org
July 22, 2013

HARTFORD, Conn. - Two Supreme Court rulings have advanced the cause of marriage equality, and 13 states plus the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage. But what about LGBT couples and individuals who want to adopt children?

According to Ellen Kahn of the Human Rights Coalition, that area too has opened up some, but she said much more needs to be done.

"If you call and say 'I'm a gay man. My partner and I are interested in adopting,' there are still places that will say 'No, thank you,' and hang up the phone," Kahn declared.

She said however that even in the most conservative states there are pathways to LGBT adoption, and work on expanding it continues in legislatures and courts. She said she senses that a corner has been turned, and that 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 their work, but it hasn't always been popular.

"We do have some donors who leave because of our stance on what a family is," she admitted. "And I have lost prospective board members for our stance. And I have received hate mail because of our stance."

She said that 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 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.

Fawcett agrees.

"I think with all the states coming on board with marriage equality I am hopeful that there will be more LGBT families adopting. And we are here to help," she said.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - CT