If you believe that LGBT people should be allowed to adopt children, you are logically required to believe that LGBT people must be afforded the right to marry. And if you care about this nation’s two million children who are homeless or in foster care, you have no moral ground to be against either.
The 1138 federal rights and benefits automatically afforded heterosexual people as a birthright are denied to LGBT people who wish to marry or who have married, but have their same-sex relationships deemed “not recognized” by the state because of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
These rights cover all aspects of social security programs, housing, food stamps, veterans’ benefits, taxation, federal civilian and military service benefits, employment benefits, immigration, naturalization, trade, commerce, and intellectual property, crimes and family violence, among others.
The House GOP is spending $3 million — your tax dollars — to defend DOMA, preventing loving same-sex couples from having access to these benefits, while spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the benefits of opposite-sex marriage.
“In 2002, the Bush administration diverted over $100 million dollars from existing welfare programs to create the Healthy Marriage Initiative, a national program to disseminate the importance of matrimony,” Madeleine Schwartz at the Los Angeles Review of Books wrote earlier this year:
“Displaced funds included $14 million from child welfare, $6.1 million from a child support enforcement program, $9 million worth of support for refugees, and $40 million from a development strategies program focusing on Native Americans. Three years later, the US government sanctioned up to $150 million more per year to support ‘healthy marriage and responsible programs.’ A change of political parties has not tempered the flow: in the last fiscal year, Congress approved $75 million in spending on marriage promotion activities and $75 million for responsible fatherhood initiatives.”
On top of that, over 400,500 U.S. children live in foster care. Only a quarter of these children (27 percent) live with a family member, while almost half (47 percent do not live with any family member). 11 percent of these kids “age-out” of the system, and one third of those almost automatically go on public assistance.
Of these 400,500 children, over 100,000 are eligible and ready today to be adopted.
Only 18 states and the D.C. allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt.
20 states allow an LGBT parent to petition for second-parent adoption.
Already there are three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in this country raising six million children, according to Family Equality.
“Five states explicitly prohibit same-sex couples from jointly adopting (Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan),” Family Equality reports. “Six states affirmatively restrict same-sex couples from accessing second-parent adoption (Utah, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina). Two states restrict fostering by LGBT parents (Utah, Nebraska). Virginia allows private agencies receiving state funds to refuse to serve families or children for any religious objection.”
The Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDF) “is a federal child welfare bill that will eliminate discrimination in foster care and adoption placements based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status,” Kate Perino, Communications Intern at the Family Equality Council writes at the Huffington Post:
The lead sponsors, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rep. Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), are hopeful that opening the door for more foster and adoptive parents will solve the nation’s foster crisis. Right now, there are 400,000 children in foster care, and over 100,000 are available for adoption. The Williams Institute found that without legal barriers, as many as 2 million LGBT parents might become foster or adoptive parents.
Three million LGBTQ parents are raising six million of America’s children. Where’s the problem?
Lead, follow, or get out of the way. For the sake of the children.
If you’re a child or teen thinking of running from home, the National Runaway Safeline can help. Call them at 1-800-RUNAWAY or visit them online.
Image: Pink Sherbet Photography
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