Queer Voices

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand To Introduce 'Every Child Deserves A Family Act' (ECDF) LGBT Adoption Bill In US Senate

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has announced that she will introduce the "Every Child Deserves a Family Act" (ECDF) in the U.S. Senate reports FamilyEquality.org. The announcement comes just days before National Adoption Month which begins on November 1.

The bill, if passed, will eliminate state laws, policies, practices, and procedures that "exclude potential adoptive and foster parents because marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity."

The House version of this bill, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) in May of 2011, currently has bi-partisan support.

A press release sent out by Gillibrand's office notes that there are an estimated 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system and more than 107,000 children waiting to be adopted. LGBT couples or individuals looking to adopt or become foster parents are discriminated against in more than 30 states.

Also from the press release:

"While most states permit single LGBT parents to adopt, many do not allow LGBT couples to adopt. Currently, five states prohibit same-sex couples from adopting (Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and Michigan). There are 6 states that ban same-sex parents from adopting their partner’s children. More than two dozen states remain silent on how prospective LGBT foster and adoptive parents should be treated.

A 2001 University of Los Angeles study showed that LGBT couples are just as 'fit, effective and successful as similar heterosexual parents.' There are two million LGBT people who have considered becoming adoptive or foster parents, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. Currently 65,000 adopted children currently live with a gay or lesbian parent. In 2008, a Williams Institute study found that more than 10,500 same-sex couples are raising over 21,000 children in New York State."

Says Gillibrand: "New York is a leader on ensuring that any family can adopt children and sets a great example for the rest of the country. By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York State has increased its foster parent pool by 128,000 prospective parents. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families."

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