Our guest blogger is Crosby Burns, special assistant for the LGBT Research and Communications Project at American Progress.
Today, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced federal legislation that would bar discrimination against prospective LGBT adoptive or foster parents. The “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” prohibits any organization that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced the same bill in the House earlier this year, which currently has 76 co-sponsors.
LGBT couples looking to adopt currently face discrimination in more than 30 states, and if passed, Gilibrand’s bill would ensure that no child is left without a home because their adoption agency or foster care provider discriminated against prospective LGBT caretakers. There are currently approximately 400,000 children in the US foster system, with an additional 107,000 children nationwide waiting to be adopted.
This bill comes the same week that a broad coalition of LGBT and social welfare organizations released a comprehensive report, All Children Matter, that documents the ways in which state and federal laws hurt the more than 2 million children living with LGBT parents. For example, the report identified state and federal adoption policies that prevent children from leaving the adoptive and foster care system and entering into loving homes headed by LGBT couples. These policies have disastrous implications for our nation’s children, putting them at a higher risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood.
The report also offers numerous policy recommendations – such removing restrictions to LGBT adoption – to ensure that all children have the financial and emotional support needed to develop happily and healthily. Studies have consistently found that LGBT parents are just as fit and effective as straight parents, and their children are just as well-adjusted and physically and psychologically developed.