June 01, 2017

Anti-LGBT Adoption Laws Popping Up Across the Country

Ben Aguilar

Reprinted with permission from Section of Family Law eNewsletter, May 2017. ©2017 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

According to the Children’s Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care. In 2015, over 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.

Despite the clear need for more foster-care placements and adoptions with qualifying families, discriminatory legislation that targets LGBTQ families has been introduced in many states including Alabama, Georgia, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

These bills would allow child welfare organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ prospective parents by refusing to serve same-sex couples if this goes against their “sincerely held religious belief.”

Agencies tasked by the state with caring for foster children should be guided by the central tenet that guides all family law, “the best interest of the child.” State legislators are encouraging agencies to engage in discriminatory practices instead of finding loving homes for foster children. Children should be given the opportunity to be to be adopted by a qualified and loving family that can provide a safe home.

As more of these discriminatory bills are enacted into law across the country, we can expect to see legal challenges to these practices.

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Ben Aguilar

Ben Aguilar is the principal of the Law Offices of Ben Aguilar in San Diego, California, and is Chair of the Alternative Families Committee of the ABA Section of Family Law. He may be reached at info@benaguilarlaw.com.