We’re seeing more and more gay families in the United States as only two states, Mississippi and Utah, have flat out prohibited adoption by gay couples. However, hopeful gay parents are often prevented from adopting because they can’t legally marry in many states. Gay couples are resorting to adopting as “gay singles” according to The New York Times. But this single-parent adoption tactic ultimately puts these children at a disadvantage, as both parents don’t have equal rights or protections to them.
Nevertheless, gay families are on the rise. Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a nonprofit organization working to change adoption policy and practice, describes adoption by couples as “a reality on the ground.” The number of children needing loving homes has begun to vastly outweigh prejudice against queer families.
Moira Weir, director of the job and family services department in Hamilton County, Ohio said:
“The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is…If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”
Yet adoptions agencies in conservative states are running much like “underground railroads,” according to the Times when it comes to placing children with gay couples.
Although there are 65,000 adopted children living in gay households (about four percent of the adopted population), these single-parent adoptions threaten the safety of children by not giving full rights to both parents. An endless number of scenarios in which the safety of the child could be jeopardized hinge on both parents being able to step in for consent or access. Full and equal marriage rights not only provide queer couples with hospital visits, life insurance money (as well as a slew of other rights), but they also protect those children adopted into said union.