Bill Reintroduced in Congress to Prevent LGBT Discrimination, Give More Children Homes

posted on Wed, May 8 2013 1:16 pm by

Over 400,000 children are in foster care in the U.S., with over 100,000 of them eligible for adoption—and yet otherwise qualified LGBT prospective parents still face discrimination and legal restrictions in adoption and foster care. A bill being reintroduced in Congress this week seeks to change that.

A bipartisan group of sponsors will reintroduce the Every Child Deserves a Family Act in both the House and Senate. The bill would halt federal funding for foster care or adoption programs that discriminate against prospective parents because of their marital status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the adoptive child.

The bill, which is modeled after the 1994 Multiethnic Placement Act that prohibits discrimination in adoption and foster placements based on race, ethnicity, or national origin, died in committee in both chambers in the last Congress.

Currently, 10 states have laws prohibiting discrimination in adoption based on sexual orientation; another two also prohibit it based on gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project. LGBT parents can petition for joint adoption statewide in 19 states plus D.C.; availability is uncertain in 26; and five have legal restrictions against it. When it comes to foster care, six states prohibit discrimination against LGBT parents; 42 states plus D.C. say nothing of it; and two restrict it.

Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy at Family Equality Council, which is working with PFLAG to push for the bill, explained in a statement, “The time has come to fix the patchwork of adoption and foster care laws across the country and ensure that young people in care have every opportunity to find a forever home.”

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