Federal LGBT adoption bill introduced

Sunday Oct 25, 2009

If passed, a new bill could restrict federal funding for states with anti-LGBT adoption and foster policies.

The 'Every Child Deserves a Family Act,' which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) on Oct. 15, would penalize states with outdated adoption policies that restrict access based on marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

"We got 25,000 kids a year maturing out of the welfare system without permanent foster care or adoptive care, and the prospects of those children having a successful adult life are diminished greatly," Stark told the Washington Blade. "These are kids who end up in the criminal justice system, or end up homeless."

The legislation would directly affect states with explicit adoption restrictions, including Utah, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi.

The bill has received support from Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House. According to Drew Hammill, Pelosi's spokesperson, the Speaker believes that children "should have the security of two fully sanctioned and legally recognized parents, whether those parents are of the same or opposite sex."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Family Equality Council (FEC), both LGBT rights organizations, have also offered their support.

According to Stark, a hearing on the bill could take place in a House Ways & Means Committee this year.

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