Oklahoma Adoption Bill Allowing Discrimination Against Gay Couples Clears House Panel

An Oklahoma House committee has approved a bill that seeks to allow religious child welfare organizations, including adoption and foster care agencies, to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Senate Bill 1140 cleared the Senate last month with an overwhelming 35-9 vote in Oklahoma adoption matter.

The bill states: “To the extent allowed by federal law, no private child placing agency shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.”adoption

Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, a Republican from Oklahoma City, has defended his bill, arguing that it would increase the number of adoptions in Oklahoma by expanding the pool of faith-based organizations participating.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced the bill to the full House for consideration, adding an amendment that excludes agencies that receive state funding.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights advocate, said that the bill does not take into account the best interest of children.

“SB 1140, if passed, would allow state-licensed child-placing agencies to disregard the best interest of children and turn away qualified Oklahomans seeking to care for a child in need,” Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel at HRC, said during a press conference. “This would include LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.”

by Carlos Santoscoy, ontopmag.com, April 12, 2018

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Christian Adoption Agencies Caught Refusing Same-Sex Parents – and Now Taxpayer Funds Are Being Halted

Christian Adoption Agencies Caught Refusing Same-Sex Parents – and Now Taxpayer Funds Are Being Halted

Two Christian adoption agencies in Philadelphia are under attack – and under review – after being caught with policies refusing same-sex couples and LGBT people from adopting children in their care. In the last year alone the City of Philadelphia has paid them a total of $3 million to care for the children in need of loving homes. Those payments are now on hold and an investigation into both agencies is underway.adoption hate

Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services are bth refusing to alter their policies, insisting same-sex marriage is not in keeping with their religious beliefs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“This has been our practice throughout our nearly 75 years of operation and is based on our adherence to what we believe to be foundational Biblical principles,” a spokesman for Bethany Christian Services told the Inquirer. 

“Catholic Social Services is, at its core, an institution founded on faith-based principles,” a spokesman for the Philadelphia Archdiocese said. “The Catholic Church does not endorse same-sex unions, based upon deeply held religious beliefs and principles. As such, CSS would not be able to consider foster care placement within the context of a same-sex union.” 

by David Badash, TheNewCivivlRightsMovement.com, March 19, 2018

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Same-sex adoption is now legal everywhere in Australia

Same-sex couples can now adopt children anywhere in Australia.

The Northern Territory was the last region of the country holding out against the tide of progress – until this week.same-sex adoption

 In a historic move, lawmakers added amendments to the NT Adoption of Children Act which mean that same-sex couples – as well as de facto couples – can now legally adopt.

Before now, only straight couples were allowed this right.

The decision comes after the federal Parliament’s followed the country’s wishes – expressed in the overwhelming 62 to 38 percent result of the postal vote – by legalising equal marriage.

by Josh Jackman, PinkNews.co.uk, March 15, 2018

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Ga. governor signs LGBT ‘neutral’ adoption bill

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia on Monday signed into law a comprehensive bill updating the state’s adoption law after he joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in killing proposed changes that would have allowed adoptions by same-sex couples to be denied on religious grounds.

The Georgia General Assembly’s approval of the sweeping adoption reform bill, known as HB 159, which includes no restrictions against same-sex couple adoptions, appears to have been overshadowed by the passage by the Georgia Senate on Feb. 23 of a separate bill, the Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act, or SB 375.

That measure calls for allowing private adoption agencies receiving state funds to deny adoptions for certain couples or individual parents based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Legal experts say the bill’s language would allow faith-based adoption agencies to decline to approve an adoption for those with whom they disapprove, including single parents, unmarried couples and LGBT couples.

The bill would prohibit the state from defunding or penalizing a private adoption agency for making adoption decisions based on religious grounds.

Upon approval last month by the State Senate, SB 375 was sent to the House Judiciary Committee. A spokesperson for the committee’s chair, Rep. Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs), told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that Willard had yet to schedule a hearing for the bill due to the committee’s consideration of numerous other bills. The spokesperson said she didn’t know when or if Willard planned to call a hearing.

Under the Georgia General Assembly’s 2818 legislative session, any bill that isn’t fully approved by the state House and Senate by March 29 will be considered dead for the session.

Jen Ryan, a spokesperson for Deal, told the Blade in an email that the “governor’s office doesn’t comment on pending legislation.”

However, at least one source familiar with Deal and the Republican-controlled legislature said Deal and a number of prominent GOP lawmakers have made it known they oppose SB 375, among other things, because they believe its perception as a discriminatory law would hurt efforts to bring and retain large businesses in the state.

Deal made his views known on that score in 2016 when he vetoed a “religious liberties” bill that critics said would have given employers and landlords authority to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds.

Georgia Senate passes anti-LGBTQ adoption bill

The Georgia Senate on Friday morning passed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples based on their religious beliefs.

The bill would also prohibit the Georgia Department of Human Services from taking “adverse action” against such agencies. The bill passed along party lines 35-19 and will now head to the House for consideration.Georgia gay adoption

Senate Bill 375, called the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” was introduced earlier this month by state Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), who added similar language to an adoption overhaul at the end of last year’s legislative session, causing the bill to stall. A Senate Judiciary sub-committee met on Feb. 8 to take up the bill, moving to send it on to the full committee, which passed the bill on Feb. 20.

Senators debated the bill for over an hour, and the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was a hot topic throughout, with several senators who support the bill quoting directly from the ruling.

Sen. Ligon and other supporters of the bill continued to try and make the case that passage of the bill would lead to more adoption opportunities in the state and not less.

“This bill does not prevent anyone from adopting,” Ligon said emphatically at one point.

Sen. Ligon and Sen. Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta), who beat an anti-LGBTQ Democratic opponent to win her state Senate seat in December, got into a lively discussion on the merits of the bill. Jordan questioned the need for the bill, confirming with Ligon that there are is no record of adoption agencies being discriminated against in Georgia because of their faith. Jordan then repeated a point brought up by State Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) during Tuesday morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing — that the concern these agencies have is based on a feeling rather than facts.

“It’s not based on feeling,” Ligon responded. “They want to have the assurance that they’ll be able to exercise their fundamental right to practice their faith.”

State Sen. Fran Millar (R-Atlanta) spoke in favor of the bill, saying that it would broaden opportunities for children in foster care.

“I’m tired of watching [the state] fail in certain areas and we have failed foster children,” Millar said. “The statistics [Ligon] read are true. If this broadens the opportunities for people to love them and raise them, then by God I’m going to vote for it.”

State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) pointed out that LGBTQ people also have religious beliefs.

by Patrick Saunders, gavotte.com, February 23, 2018

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Interracial Gay Family Handbook

When same sex parents create families through transracial adoption, they must find ways to discuss racism, homophobia, instill positive racial identities, and honor their children’s birth culture.

If you don’t know this and what the benefits of transracial adoption are, it is worth considering before adopting. For so many same sex couples, transracial adoption is the best fit. If considering transracial adoption, there are many benefits and situations that should be discussed.interracial

Double Takes and Stares

We are a gay interracial couple – black and white – raising our two boys, black, with our mixed-raced daughter, who looks more white than anything else.

I personally identify with being black, because it carries the same combination of pride, remembrance and regret that “African American” was designed for. Thus, I prefer to raise our boys to also identify with being black. We will let our daughter decide what identity best fits her as she gets older.

Regardless if its black parents adopting white kids or white parents adopting black kids, families like ours typically garner lots of intention when in public.

Since our mixed-race daughter looks white, she and I often get double takes everywhere we go. I prefer to credit those double takes to our daughter’s beauty but reality dictates otherwise. Our first foster-to-adopt son (he has since been placed back with his birth mom) was white.  He and I also received stares wherever we went. I particularly despised the “is he yours” question, which made me feel self consciously black.

My white husband, Paul, receives similar double takes and stares, perhaps more, when he is in public with our black boys. On one occasion, he was approached by an older black woman asking, “where is the mother”? A polite reply would probably be the best response, but we typically respond with “none of your business” or “I am the mother”. Either way, we try to protect our children from such approaches by just removing ourselves from the situation.

Fascination with Hair 

The fascination with touching other people’s hair, particularly strangers, can be both frustrating and annoying. I have had situations where total strangers were fascinated with my boys’ hair because it “looks” and “feels” different. My advice would be to ask the child or their parent before touching his/her hair.

January  28, 2018 daddaddykids.com by Gregory Yorgey-Girdy

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LGBT Family Planning – The ABCs of Family Creation and Protection

LGBT Family Planning involves conscious decision making and careful preparation to ensure that your family is protected under existing laws, which are evolving every day.

LGBT family planning is crucial to provide the security that your family deserves.  While many more options exist for us to consider when creating our families, each one carries with it particular considerations which will inform and facilitate your choice.  Here are a few options:

Adoption

There are over 130 adoption agencies in New York State, and each of the 58 social services unit districts has an adoption unit. There are no fees for adopting children who have special needs or are in custody of the local social services commissioner, although there may be fees for adopting those children in the legal guardianship of local voluntary agencies. The fees are based on the adoptive family’s income, however, and help may be available in the form of grants or fee waivers, so don’t let finances put you off from looking into this as an option to start your family.LGBT family planning

After deciding on an agency, the application forms must be completed. Information is taken about your current family, your background and the type of child you feel you would be able to give the best life to. Criminal history checks will also be made, with particular attention paid to whether someone in the prospective adoptive family’s home has previous mistreated or neglected a child. A criminal record does not necessarily mean that you will be refused for adoption, as it depends on several factors including the type of crime committed.

Within four months of submitting the application, a home study is started and carried out on the prospective adoptive family. This is a series of meetings, training sessions and interviews that enables the family and social services to ascertain the readiness of the family to adopt, and any issues that they may need help with. After the home study has been completed the caseworker writes a summary about the family, which the adoptive couple can also add comments to. Training is also required to cover some areas that are specific to adoptive parenting, such as the needs of foster children and what kind of child they would be most suited to as a parent.  At this point, the couple, or individual, is considered “Pre-Certified” to adopt.

Once the study and summary are complete, the work then begins to match the family with a child. There is no set process for this as it is individual according to the child’s situation and needs. The Family Adoption Registry provides information about waiting children, and adoptive parents can ask for more information about children they are interested in, in exchange for a copy of the home study. The process goes from there and hopefully ends with a child or children finding a loving home with their new parents!

Children from a Pre-Existing Relationship

If you are in a relationship where your partner or spouse has a child from a pre-existing relationship, the process by which you may secure legal rights to the child is called Second or Step Parent Adoption.  If the child has another living legal parent, this process will require that the other parent either surrenders their parental rights to the petitioning parent, or that their rights are terminated by the Court.

Lesbian Couples and Sperm Donation

One of the most cited reasons for choosing known sperm donors is to have a greater insight into the biology of your child. Having a known sperm donor’s medical history can be critical for mothers who have medical or genetic issues that they must consider before having a child.  An anonymous sperm donor file will provide some medical information, but a known donor can share his family medical history, which may be crucial for the health of your child. anonymous donor

The key for a successful selection of a known donor depends on several factors, all personal to the couple or individual.  One crucial consideration for individuals considering a known donor is that the donor CANNOT surrender his parental rights and will be able to sue for custody and visitation to any child born through such an arrangement.  Each state has different laws, but most favor a child having two legal parents.

Lesbian couples considering a known donor should always enter into a Known Donor Agreement prior to any attempts at insemination.  This agreement will spell out the details of understanding between the intended parents and the donor, including the donor’s intent to surrender his parental rights to the non-birth mother.lgbt family planning

While medical considerations are one of the top reasons for having a known donor, knowing the emotional and social character of the donor is also an often overlooked consideration in many people’s path to parenthood.  No anonymous donor profile can show the complete picture of the person who may be the biological father of your child.

Legal considerations are also important reasons to choose between anonymous donors and known sperm donors. Anonymous donors surrender their parental rights to any children born with their genetic material upon deposit to a sperm bank or fertility clinic.  When you choose an anonymous donor, they may offer the option of allowing the child to contact them at age 18, but there is no question as to their lack of parental rights to that child.

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is the process by which a woman carried the child, or children, of the intended parent/s.  Male couples often see this as the most viable method of LGBT family planning. 

Currently, only 5 states ban compensated surrogacy, New York being one of these states.  New York does allow for compassionate surrogacy, where the surrogate mother, or carrier, is not compensated for the risks, dedication and disruption to their lives when having a child for someone else.  Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate mother, or carrier, is also the egg donor.  Gestational surrogacy is where a separate egg donor exists and the carrier has no biological relationship with the child born through surrogacy.surrogacy

It is imperative that if you choose surrogacy to help you have your family, that you do so in an ethical manner and make conscious choices about how to go about the process.  It is also a wise choice to research perspective agencies and fertility clinics thoroughly and ask a lot of questions.

Once your child is born through surrogacy, it is critical to secure the legal rights of the non-genetically related parent through both a pre or post birth order in the state where the child is born and a confirmatory second or step parent adoption back in the home state of the intended parents.  A pre or post birth order is a court order that terminates the parental rights of the surrogate mother and, in some states, establishes the rights of the intended parents.  There is evolving, and in some cases, conflicting, case law about whether the confirmatory adoption is required when a pre or post birth order exists; however, there is nothing more important than ensuring that your family is completely and securely protected.

Co-Parenting

Many single LGBT  and non-LGBT individuals are choosing to co-parent.  Co-parenting may be the latest frontier in the world of LGBT family planning This is defined as two individuals who are not in an emotional relationship, choose to raise a child together and share parenting responsibilities.  This process also requires a carefully considered Co-Parenting Agreement to spell out the intentions of the co-parents and their responsibilities to the child and to one another.  Many websites exist today to connect those interested in co-parenting but it is critical that anyone considering this option visit a family law attorney who is versed in the intricacies of co-parenting.

Once you have your family plan in place, remember to protect that family with careful and considered estate planning.  If unmarried, you may also consider the benefits of a pre-marital agreement to define separate and joint property.

LGBT family planning can take many forms.  With so many LGBT family planning options available to couples and individuals, take your time and figure out which one is right for you.  If you have any questions at all about these processes, please visit www.timeforfamilies.com or email me at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

 

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Swiss Gays and lesbians can now adopt stepchildren

From January 1, same-sex couples and de facto spouses may adopt stepchildren in Switzerland.

In addition, the secrecy surrounding adoption will be loosened so adopted children and their biological parents will be able to get in contact more easily. Swiss gay

Until now, only married people have been able to adopt their spouses’ children. In Switzerland, homosexuals have been able to enter into a civil partnership since 2007, but gay marriage is not recognised. From 2018 however, adoption will be possible for anyone in a civil partnership or a longterm relationship. 

Swiss law will thus align itself closer to that of other western European countries and the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. 

That said, a couple in a civil partnership will still be unable to adopt a child who is biologically unrelated to both parents. This means that a gay person can adopt if single, but not when in a civil partnership. 

The adoption option was deliberately left out of the nationwide vote on approving civil partnerships for gays in 2005 in order to increase the chances of success. 

December 26, 2017 via SwissInfo.ch

By Sibilla Bondolfi

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Family judge quits after refusing to approve adoptions by gay couples

A judge has resigned from the bench because he doesn’t want to oversee same-sex adoptions.

Judge Nance’s order registered an “conscientious objection to the concept of adoption of a child by a practising homosexual”, seeking to recuse himself from such cases on the grounds of “matters of conscience”.gay adoption

The judge claimed he cannot hear the cases because he believes there is no circumstance in which “the best interest of the child [would] be promoted by the adoption by a practicing homosexual”.

But after a probe was launched into his decision, this week the judge opted to resign from the bench entirely.

The state judicial commission had filed ethics charges against Nance, accusing him of violating the judicial code of conduct.

This bars judges from overtly “showing bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status”.

He was also accused of failing to act in a way that “promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary”.

Responding to the charges this week, Nance’s lawyers confirmed that he would be resigning rather than face punishment.

pinknews.com, October 27, 2017

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Rejected by adoption agencies, the Dumonts from Dimondale is suing the state

DumontKristy and Dana Dumont have been married for six years.

DIMONDALE –  Kristy Dumont had nine Cabbage Patch Kids dolls when she was a kid. She always knew she wanted to be a mom. 

But, as an adult, she didn’t want to have children without the security of a legal marriage.

“Being gay threw a wrench into that,” she said.

But she met Dana Dumont on Match.com when she was 28. On the five-year anniversary of their first kiss, Dana and Kristy married in Vermont. It was 2011, and same-sex marriages were legal there.

The couple now lives in a Dimondale subdivision with a cat and two Great Danes. They bought the red brick house in February because they want to become parents and liked the district.

After the state launched a marketing campaign to encourage families to adopt foster children, Dana, a property specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, began forwarding emails with pictures of the children to Kristy.

“You start to think, life is pretty good,” Dana said. “But, maybe it’s not for some of these kids and maybe we could help with that.”

 

Kristy contacted the Lansing office of St. Vincent Catholic Charities in 2016 about adoption. The organization told her it does not work with same-sex couples, she said. She contacted Bethany Christian Services in 2017. They told her the same thing, she said.

By Sarah Lehr, Lansing State Journal, September 26, 2017

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