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Number of gays, lesbians adopting nearly triples over past 10 years

Saturday, October 22, 2011
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The number of adoptions by gay and lesbian parents has almost tripled over the past ten years, despite the “patchwork of discriminatory policies” that often make it difficult for gays and lesbians to adopt, as either couples or individuals, according to a new study released this week.


About 21,740 same-sex couples had adopted children in 2009, up from 6,477 in 2000, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. About 32,571 adopted children were living with same-sex couples in 2009, up from 8,310 in 2000. The figures are an analysis of newly released Census Bureau estimates.

The New York-based Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a report Thursday culminating a four-year project surveying 158 gay and lesbian parents and their experience with the adoption process. Their researchers found the highest number of homosexuals adopted children from Massachusetts, California, New York and Texas.

Associated Press, via Los Angeles Times

While several states specifically prohibit same-sex couples from adopting jointly, others have eased restrictions on gay families.

Last year, Florida ended its 33-year ban on gay parent adoptions — Florida was the only state in the U.S. that legally disallowed any and all LGBT parents from adopting, although they could be foster parents.

And in New York, former Gov. David Paterson last year signed an adoption bill allowing unmarried partners — including gay couples — to jointly adopt a child.

But in Virginia, the State Board of Social Services voted in April to reject new adoption rules that would have allowed same-sex couples to adopt in the state for the first time. Virginia allows adoption by married couples and single parents, regardless of sexual orientation, prohibits adoptions by unmarried couples — gay or straight.

In Arkansas, the state’s Supreme Court in April struck down a voter-approved initiative that barred gay couples and other unmarried people living together from adopting or serving as foster parents.

In Arizona, a bill signed by Gov. Jan Brewer will direct the state and other adoption agencies to give married couples a preference over single adults when placing children in adoptive homes.

And in Illinois, Catholic Charities has refused to recognize the state’s new civil unions law, and continues to disallow gay couples and others living together outside marriage to be foster or adoptive parents.

According to the Williams Institute study, about one-third of the adoptions by lesbians and gay men were “open,” and the birth families’ initial reactions regarding sexual orientation were very positive. The report estimates about 50 percent of adoptive gay families adopt children from foster care.

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