Family Law Attorney Joshua Law Remarks On Bill to Ease Adoption By Same-Sex Couples
Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 27, 2013 - Legislation intended to lower barriers to adoption by same-sex couples was recently reintroduced in the U.S. Congress.
Many states have some kind of restriction or outright ban on adoption by same-sex couples. Under the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA), federal funds could be cut off from foster and adoption agencies that discriminate in that way.
“Supporters of the law say children are better off in a permanent home, whether with same-sex or opposite-sex parents, than they are as wards of the state,” commented Brandon family lawyer Joshua Law. “This legislation could mean big changes in a lot of children's lives.”
ECDFA would allow the Health and Human Services (HHS) to withhold funding from public child welfare agencies that discriminate against potential parents and/or against children based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Current law prohibits discrimination based on race and religion only.
Earlier this summer, the bill was introduced with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sponsored it in the Senate. Gillibrand teamed up with Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) to introduce the bill in a previous session of Congress, but Stark is no longer a Representative.
The bill would require HHS to provide assistance to affected agencies by detailing the changes they must make in order to maintain funding. It would also allow individuals who allege discrimination on the part of an agency to file for a judicial hearing.
According to the Family Equality Council, LGBT individuals face barriers to adoption or fostering in 39 states. Meanwhile, many medical and professional associations have taken stances against such laws. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Adoption Center, and the American Bar Association all support foster parenting and adoption by qualified gay, lesbian, and unmarried parents, according to advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.
“The acceptance of LGBT couples as capable parents is becoming more widespread,” added Law.
Legislation tracking website GovTrack.us estimates the legislation has just a one percent chance of being enacted.
“This session of Congress may not pass this bill, but I think the momentum behind same-sex family rights shows it's only a matter of time,” Law predicted.
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