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Sen. Gillibrand introduces Every Child Deserves a Family Act


By Adam Bink

Via e-mail:



Legislation Would Open More Loving Homes To Children By Ending Discrimination Against Adoptive Parents Based On Sexual Orientation


Nationwide, More Than 100,000 Children Currently Waiting To Be Adopted


31 States Discriminate Against LGBT Families


Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that she will introduce the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, legislation that would open more homes to foster children by working with states to end discrimination against adoptive and foster parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and marital status. Nationwide, there are an estimated 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, and there are more than 107,000 children currently waiting to be adopted, including 6,600 in New York.  LGBT couples or individuals who want to adopt or become foster parents still face discrimination in more than 30 states.


“New York is a leader on ensuring that any family can adopt children and sets a great example for the rest of the country,” Senator Gillibrand said. “By removing all barriers for LGBT families to serve as foster parents, New York State has increased its foster parent pool by 128,000 prospective parents. This legislation would open thousands of new foster and adoptive homes to children ensuring they are raised in loving families.”


“I applaud Senator Gillibrand for introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act in the Senate as we look forward to celebrating National Adoption Month in November,” saidCongressman Pete Stark (D-CA).  “This legislation is about finding solid, permanent and loving homes for the 107,000 foster children waiting to be adopted.  That’s why 76 of my colleagues have joined me in sponsoring the House version.  It is time to put the best interests of children first and remove all discriminatory barriers in our child welfare system.”


While most states permit single LGBT parents to adopt, many do not allow LGBT couples to adopt. Currently, five states prohibit same-sex couples from adopting (Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina and Michigan). There are 6 states that ban same-sex parents from adopting their partner’s children.


More than two dozen states remain silent on how prospective LGBT foster and adoptive parents should be treated. Their lack of non-discrimination policies for same-sex couples leave children vulnerable to agencies and case workers’ biases, resulting in children being denied the benefit of placement with qualified, loving LGBT parents.


A 2001 University of Los Angeles study showed that LGBT couples are just as “fit, effective and successful as similar heterosexual parents.” There are two million LGBT people who have considered becoming adoptive or foster parents, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA. Currently 65,000 adopted children currently live with a gay or lesbian parent. In 2008, a Williams Institute study found that more than 10,500 same-sex couples are raising over 21,000 children in New York State.

In 2010, nearly 28,000 youth nationwide “aged out” of the foster care system. Research shows that these youth are at a high risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood.

The Every Child Deserves A Family Act would prohibit an entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Congress annually invests more than $8 billion into the child welfare system, and many of these children could be adopted by LGBT couples if the bans in local jurisdictions were removed.




Number of LGBT Couples

Capital Region


Central New York


Hudson Valley


Long Island


New York City


North Country


Rochester/Finger Lakes Region


Southern Tier


Western New York


*The Williams Institute



  • 1. Joe  |  October 28, 2011 at 8:27 am

    In the last ten years, the number of same sex couples has increased by 240,000, a record increase. In the last ten years, the number of kids in foster care has decreased by 200,000, a record decrease. Coincidence? i think not.

  • 2. Ronnie  |  October 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

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  • 3. Alan_Eckert  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Yay for Sen Giilbrand! John and Stuart's photo is at the top of my page, and they have the perfect pose for this article.

  • 4. DaveP  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:13 am

    This is excellent news. The horrible situation of kids 'aging out' of the foster care system must be addressed, and this can be a big help. This situation essentially throws teenage kids out into the street with no family, no resources, no kind of safety net. So if they don't get lucky and find a couch to crash on while looking for a job and then get even luckier and actually GET a job that pays well enough for them to be self-supporting (good luck with that, since they have no college education and will probably never have that luxury), they are basically doomed to join the ranks of the homeless. A huge percentage of these kids end up resorting to prostitution and petty crimes to survive.

    But the bigots would rather sentence these kids to this hell on earth than acknowledge that gay people form real families and are entitled to equal rights. It's child abuse through discriminatory legislation, fueled by anti-gay bigotry, and the ruined lives of these kids are the collateral damage.

  • 5. Pat  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Every child deserves a mom and a dad. Anything short of that is a travesty. The problem with gay adoption of orphans is that it leads to the intentional deprivation of a child of a mom or a dad through surrogate pregnancies and artificial insemination. I can't think of many things sadder than a child being born not knowing who his/her parents are and being raised by strangers, except, perhaps, all that and also being deprived of a substitute mom and dad.

  • 6. Alan_Eckert  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I can't think of anything worse than parents abandoning their kids or the needs of their child. Almost every kid in the system (I can't say all because I can't be 100% sure) is the result of a "mom and a dad" who have lost the right to parent or gave up their child.

  • 7. AnonyGrl  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

    The problem with BANNING gay adoption, Pat, is that you are denying many children any parents at all. I can't think of anything sadder than telling a child "Here is an adult or pair of adults who want to adopt you, who would love you and support you and care for you your whole life, but because I am a bigot, I would prefer to see you stay in foster care, let you be shuffled around until you are 18, then kick you out of the system with the clothes on your back and nothing more."

    Kids who are adopted are NOT "raised by strangers". They are raised by their loving families who CHOSE them, rather than having a biological connection (and in some cases, there are biological connections… Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc. adopt too, you know).

    Every child deserves someone to love and care for him or her. Anything short of that is a travesty, and anyone who would bar that is a monster. And yes, Pat, if you truly believe what you say, I do mean you.

  • 8. Ronnie  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Nope, wrong…. Every child deserves at least one parent who will love, protect & care for him/her unconditionally. A second parent is an added bonus & in today's economy two parents with sturdy jobs are the ideal but not guaranteed. One parent or two parents is better then none. Every child deserves a sturdy place to call home, a warm bed to dream in, healthy food & nourishment for their bellies & growth process, clothes to keep them warm, a proper education, & proper health care & insurance. Those necessities of life are not provided by what gender the parent or parents are but by who the parent or parents are. Gay adoption is not intentionally depriving orphans of anything. Gay adoption is providing them with a chance at a better life. Anybody who thinks otherwise is ignorant, plain & simple, simpletons in the purest form. Your farcical surrogacy blah blah blah is irrelevant & quite frankly none of your f-ing business. It is not your family, so move along & MYOB, you busy-body but-in-ski. Martha Huber already has that job….. PROTECT & RESPECT ALL FAMILIES!!!!!…. EQUALITY NOW!!!… <3…Ronnie

  • 9. DaveP  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Wrong, Pat. When gay parents adopt, it leads to the END of the child being deprived of parents and it grants them a loving, stable home with two parents. You are implying that having two moms or having two dads is somehow 'bad' and you are completely wrong. Time and time again, all valid research on this subject has shown that there is NO DIFFERENCE is the quality of family life in homes with same-sex parents.

    I encourage you to find out the truth about this from actual reputable sources. If you are truly concerned abotu the well-being of these kids, and not just about using this issue and an excuse for oppressing gay people, you will see the truth and you will work with us to help these kids by ending these discriminatory anti-gay laws that hurt these innocent kids. Looking forward to hearing your comments arfter you get some accurate information about this.

  • 10. Cat  |  October 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Adults project their fears onto others and create problems where there were none. Children who are loved are simply happy to be loved. Studies show this. One loving parent = great. Two loving parents in a committed stable relationship = even better. Having two loving moms or dads is way, WAY, better than having a mom and dad who are fighting all the time, be they biological, adoptive or foster parents.

  • 11. JayKingOfGay  |  October 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Nope. Every child deserves a family. The problem with your suggestion is it leads to two things. Adoptable kids denied a family, period. AND yet-to-be-born children being denied AN EXISTENCE.

  • 12. Sagesse  |  October 28, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Any child who is in foster care or up for adoption, or has been adopted or is being raised by a single parent has already lost the opportunity to be raised by his/her biological mother and father. Through no fault of their own. Rhapsodizing over how lovely it would be if they could be raised in their own traditional, biological family is living a fairy tale.

    The question for society is how best to provide for them.

  • 13. TPAKyle  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Pat, unadopted children do not have an infinite shelf life and, unfortunately, we have an over abundance of kids without families. You know, the kids waiting for a new family previously HAD a mom and dad who decided that, for what ever reason, they did not want the responsibility. Perhaps you need to accept the fact that when moms and dads abandon their responsibility as parent, there are many new families who want to provide a loving home for these unwanted children, be they led by one parent, or two parents of the same sex.

    I suggest you focus your efforts, not on preventing one parent or two same-sex parent families from providing a loving home for these unadopted children, but rather, affecting change that encourages the moms and dads that abandon these kids to not irresponsibly procreate. Then we won't have to deal with the problem they create when they abandon the child.

    You know you really ought to consider addressing the root cause. Please don't chastise the folks that are helping clean up the mess these irresponsible moms and dads create. Otherwise, you simply appear to be another crusader demonizing the GLBT community under a the thinly-veiled excuse that GLBT parents are less capable of providing a loving family for otherwise unwanted children.

  • 14. Bob  |  October 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    how about a child, being born, knowing his/her parents, and enduring a life of abuse by those very biological parents,,,, STOP thinking about yourself Pat,,,,, go interview a child who has survived, physical, emotional,, abuse up to and including torture,, by biological parents,,,, there was one boy inteviewed on Oprha,,, who had been rescued from such a stuation,,, by an Aunt,,,,, this boy was making it his goal in life to be a loving person,,,, ask him where he would choose to live,,, bological parents,,, or his Aunt…

    as for artificial inseminaion,, same thing,,, we already have had the opportunity to ask these children to tell their stories,,, so we know this is a valued experience to them,, to be alive and LOVED,,,,

    only different sexed couples have the ability to accidentally create babies, and often do,, resulting in many unplanned and unwanted babies, that endure a lifetime of the absence of LOVE that is the travesity,,,,

  • 15. Dennis in california  |  October 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    You may be right – so wouldn't your time be better spent on the greater than 50% divorce rate and all those parents that get divorced then never see their kids again. Isn't that more important to complaining that a foster child mght end up with two moms or two dads? Any adult is capable of doing the mother or father part of raising a foster child. The way I see it – you're fighting for the wrong side because straight america has shown that they break those marriage vows over half the time and for some – they do it over and over. Why aren't you looking for a solution to that problem? Well? Answer me.

  • 16. Alan_Eckert  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I recently learned that any kid in the foster system in California can have their college tuition 100% paid for by the state (I assume it's only a state school and I don't know about housing and books, though). This is an excellent benefit, except many foster kids have a tougher time with school work and would struggle to be able to perform at the college level.

  • 17. AnonyGrl  |  October 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I am delighted that NY is held up as an example of doing it right when it comes to adoption to same sex couples.

    I know from personal experience that it works. I have several gay friends who have adopted, including one couple that adopted 5 special needs kids… kids that would have been ignored, left in foster care or in state run facilities, and who grew up in a loving home with parents who adored them. My sister works at a facility for kids with mental health issues, and some of her kids are also available for adoption. She told me a lovely story about a small boy who, while being a handful because of his issues, found a home with a pair of men who had a good home, a solid relationship and a lot of love to give. She was so pleased, as was I, that this child, who found HIS parents and they did adopt him.

  • 18. Reformed  |  October 28, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Once you take away the descriminatory, biased, inflamatory rhetoric, discussions begin to focus on the needs of children. This Act demonstrates that. Rather than wasting time with a clerk grandstanding in defiance of her sworn duties, or "marriage" ograniztion spreading misinformation, sane discussion leads to solution and clear identification of actual problems. Like kids aging out of the system. That won't get much traction. After kids age out of the system, they are just more adults, and we know that NOM et al just cares about kids, not adults. They will never be forced to deal with the real issues.

  • 19. Rob in CA  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

    It will be interesting to see how this bill is structured. I find it dispicable that some states descriminate against GLBT persons, both single and in relationships. However a key argument in the State of Maryland and the Gill breifs is that family law has historically been a province of the state not the federal government. Where federal law touches on state family law it has typecally been, as described in the briefs, to add other requirement in addition to whatever the states laws require in order for a particular federal benefit to accrue to a person in a particular family/marriage relationship. If this bill were to begin to usurp the states prerogative in how it's family laws work it might be used as an argument against us it seems. No doubt the framers of the bill will take this into consideration. It's too early to know.


  • 20. Rob in CA  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I should know better 🙂

  • 21. Sagesse  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    The key is that they accept federal funding. The federal government can say 'if you accept federal education funding, you have to have anti-bullying programs' or 'if you accept federal hospital funding, you have to respect same sex partners as family'. This would be no different. Essentially, it says 'no discrimination in federally funded programs'.

  • 22. Steve  |  October 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    It's the same way they use to enforce DOMA on state programs now. They are saying "either you comply with our definition of marriage or you don't get federal money"

  • 23. Rob in CA  |  October 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    That's how I imagined it might work. I can already hear the screams of congressmen from certain states when this bill is up for debate. It should be great theater 🙂

  • 24. ronnie  |  October 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

    NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Looks Nationally on LGBT Rights in Empire State Pride Agenda Speech: VIDEO:
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke before a crowd of 1,200 last night at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers at the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) dinner, and called for marriage equality across the country.

    “We need marriage equality in every state in this nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Otherwise, no state really has marriage equality, and we will not rest until it is a reality.”

    [youtube QZ4HTbMlqU8 youtube]

  • 25. Leo  |  October 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    The Every Child Deserves A Family Act would prohibit an entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoption or foster care placements from discriminating against prospective adoptive or foster parents solely on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.

    Any idea how this would apply when it's the state that discriminates? For example, Louisiana prohibits adoption by unmarried couples. Does that mean no federal assistance for any adoption agencies in Louisiana, or do they get a free pass because the state forces them to discriminate?

  • 26. AnonyGrl  |  October 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I would hope it means that Louisiana would stop getting federal funding for its state office (the one that distributes that funding out to adoption agencies throughout the state), which would last for about 15 seconds before they cave because they NEED that funding. The point of this legislation seems to me to be to correct states that are currrently enforcing discriminatory legislation.

    Also, knowing that such legislation is heading their way and will severely impact state budgets (because they cannot simply STOP funding those agencies, they will be forced to find ways to take care of the children involved by channelling other state funds into them) may cause states to quietly and quickly review their policies and change them which would be ideal.

  • 27. DaveP  |  October 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    You know, just the fact that this issue involves phrases like "they will be forced to find ways to take care of the children involved" speaks volumes. Yup, they are being 'forced' to do what they are already supposed to be doing – taking care of these kids instead of discriminating against gays!

  • 28. AnonyGrl  |  October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Because sadly it is too often more about money than helping. Sucks, but there it is.

  • 29. Alyson  |  October 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Haven’t even tried to google it yet but does anyone know the history of inter racial adoption? Were there ever legal barriers there to over come?

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