Category Archives: Parenting

Eighteen U.S. states allow same-sex adoption

More than 104,000 youth in the U.S. foster care system are awaiting permanent families. According to a report by the Williams Institute, in 2007 there were 270,000 children in the U.S. who lived with same-sex couples. Of these, one-quarter, or 65,000, were adopted.

According to a June 2011 report issued by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the following states have established laws (either through statutes or published appellate court opinions) that explicitly allow same-sex couples to adopt, either through a second parent adoption, domestic partner adoption or civil union adoption:California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the initiative each November in partnership with AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway as a way to focus public attention on the urgent need for more adoptive families for children and youth waiting in foster care for a permanent family.





Today is the one year anniversary of the fall of Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban.

Over the past year, hundreds of parents have finally been able to adopt the children they have been raising but they now have the legal protections only adoption can provide. Others have stepped forward to adopt children stuck in foster care who want desperately to have a permanent family and a loving forever home.

This victory has been years in the making. It belongs to every plaintiff and lawyer who challenged this ban in court over the years. It belongs to everyone who lobbied the legislature and helped shift public opinion. And most of all it belongs to every family that stood up to tell their real-life story and, by doing so, refuted the lies at the heart of this ban.


Gay, lesbian and bisexual Floridians may now apply to adopt in Florida without fear of being disqualified based on their sexual orientation. This was not always the case.

The Good News –

On September 22, 2010, the Third District Court of Appeals three-judge panel unanimously agreed with a Miami judge, Cindy Lederman, who ruled in 2008 that there is “no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting.”  They also affirmed Judge Lederman’s finding that the 33-year-old ban violates equal protection rights for both the adoptive children and their prospective gay parents.

The appeals court opinion reads, in part:

“We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution. Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents. No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument. To the contrary, the parties agree ‘thatgay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.‘”

You can read the full decision here.

The Bad News –

Within hours of the court deeming the adoption ban unconstitutional, anti-gay activists committed to seeking a ballot measure that would place the harmful, discriminatory policy into the Florida Constitution.

Equality Florida has consulted with our sister organizations in other states who have found themselves the targets of similar anti-adoption ballot initiatives. The one resounding lesson to come out of their experiences is that we can not afford to wait a single minute to begin educating the public on the importance of fair adoption policies and how these bans hurt children in need of loving, “forever homes.”

Equality Florida continues to work everyday to be ready to defend this victory.

A.W. and C.W. v. Davis School District

November 13, 2012

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah have filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children’s book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mother whose children attend one of the schools where the book was restricted.

In Our Mothers’ House, by acclaimed children’s author Patricia Polacco, was included in the library collections of four schools in Davis School County. After a group of parents complained that the book “normalizes a lifestyle we don’t agree with,” the school district instructed librarians to place the book behind the library counter and could only be checked out with written permission from a parent.  The District asserts that the book violates Utah’s sex-education law by containing “advocacy of homosexuality.”  The lawsuit argues that library books are not instructional materials under the statute and including library books depicting families with same-sex parents does not constitute endorsement of homosexuality.

Public schools cannot remove books from the library shelves because some people disagree with the books’ viewpoint.  Under the First amendment, parents can place limits on what their own children can read but they cannot restrict access to books for everybody else’s children.  Placing the book behind a library desk not only makes the book more difficult to access, but also places a stigma on the book and any students who wish to read it.  The school library should serve the needs of the entire school community instead of marginalizing the families of students with same-sex parents as something that is dirty and shameful.