Gay Adoptions in U.S. Triple, but Inequality Still Exists

A gay couple reads with their adopted daughter.

Recent studies show that gay and lesbian couples are adopting more than ever. According to UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, the number of children granted to gay and lesbian couples nearly tripled over the last decade. This is definitely positive news for the gay rights movement as well as beneficial to children placed in foster care and adoption agencies.

Census Bureau results, reported by the Associated Press, show that in 2000 only 6,477 gay and lesbian couples adopted; however, that number skyrocketed to 21,740 in 2009. As more states grant gay and lesbian couples marital, civil union, and domestic partnership rights, those numbers should increase even more.

The rates also show that in 2000 only 8,310 adopted children were placed in gay and lesbian households; in 2009, that number rose to 32,571 adopted children. These numbers demonstrate the positive impact gay and lesbian couples are having on the adoption process.

It is hard to fathom why people and states would want to prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting. Clearly, the numbers show how same sex couples are helping children by removing them from foster care and adoption agencies and providing them with adequate family structures. If it were not for gay and lesbian couples those figures in 2009 would not be that high, and thousands of children would be left in foster care and agencies.

A surprise on the list of states with substantial increases in gay adoption was Texas. It ranked among liberal states such as Massachusetts, California, and New York. Perhaps Texas could inspire other western and southern states to enhance equality in the adoption process.

Although more gay couples are adopting and 60% of American adoption agencies accept applications from gays and lesbians, the overall number of gay and lesbian couples raising children is decreasing, according to the article by Anugrah Kumar from Christian Post.

The reason could be current tough economic times, or gay adoption prohibitions that still exist in some populous states. Perhaps as the adoption process for gay and lesbian couples becomes easier and more options become available, this will change.

Just as child custody should not be determined on parental gender and sexual orientation, adoption of children from agencies and foster care should not be determined by orientation either.

Fortunately, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) recently announced that she plans to introduce the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” in the U.S. Senate. A similar bill was already introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in May of 2011with bi-partisan support. If passed, it would eliminate state laws that prohibit potential parents because of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Currently, five states prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting (Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and Michigan). There are six states that ban gay and lesbian parents from adopting their partner’s children. If the law passes, it would strike down those bans.