Gay adoption and same-sex marriage

U.S. News & World Report compares two hot-button issues that are part of a major national debate: gay adoption and same-sex marriage.

Writer Amanda Ruggeri reports on Miami gay dad Frank Martin Gill and his battle to adopt his foster son. Although Florida allows gay foster parents, it is the only state to explicitly ban them from adopting. Other states also have homophobic adoption laws. Mississippi bars same-sex couples from adopting. Utah prohibits both adoption and fostering by unmarried partners who live together, a de facto ban for gay couples. And Ruggeri reports that – in Arkansas – conservatives got the 61,794 signatures needed for a ballot initiative in November on a law like Utah’s.

She writes that gay adoption is “a particularly emotional issue, where both sides say the quality of children’s lives is at risk. Advocates of gay adoption, joined by child welfare groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics, argue that it’s a moral imperative to provide more of the nation’s 500,000 foster care kids with stable homes. No credible evidence shows that having gay parents harms children, they say, and a ban only prevents judges from taking the child’s best interests into account. But opponents argue that it’s in every child’s best interest to have both a mother and a father. Allowing gay couples to adopt is also seen by many conservatives as an unacceptable step closer to allowing same-sex marriage.”

“If the contours of the debate are straightforward, adoption laws themselves often are not. While three states have laws that effectively ban gay couples from adopting, 12 others allow same-sex couples to adopt. That leaves 35 states where gay couples can’t be sure how likely it is that an adoption petition might pass.”