Nationwide, 46.7 percent of African American, female same-sex households include a child, while 32.9 percent of African American, male same-sex couples report a child present. Only 23.1 percent of white, female same-sex households and 6.2 percent of white, male same-sex households report a child. For these reasons, anti-gay parenting policies in the United States may disproportionately affect African American lesbian or gay parents, or would-be parents. ((Movement Advancement Project (MAP), Family Equality Council, Center for American Progress “LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance,” January 2012: http://bit.ly/w1FYhg.))
Highlight examples of concrete harms:
- If a child’s legal parent dies, the child could be ripped away from his or her surviving parent and away from the only home they have ever known.
- Legislation that prevents LGBT parents from adopting not only hurts them but, more importantly, hurts the child who is in dire need of a loving home.
- Adoption bans deny children in foster and government care permanent, stable, and loving homes. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights that children with permanent homes do far better than children in foster or state care. ((U.S. Government Accountability Office GAO, “Foster Care: States Focusing on Finding Permanent Homes for Children, but Long-Standing Barriers Remain”, April 2003: http://1.usa.gov/16U61Fa.))
- A non-legally recognized parent can be barred from visiting their child in the hospital or from consenting to emergency medical treatment for an injured child.
- If the non-legally recognized parent works and provides for the family, the child may be denied medical coverage under that parent’s health insurance plan.
- Blanket adoption bans take decisions about a child’s best interest out of the hands of the people most qualified to make them. Adoption decisions should be made based on what is in the best interest of the child—not on a parent’s sexual orientation—and by experienced child health and social services authorities, not politicians.
- Adoption bans can further displace children by awarding custody to strangers, rather than relatives who are lesbian or gay. When lesbian and gay couples are banned from adopting, straight parents can be legally blocked from choosing a close lesbian or gay family member to raise their child should they die unexpectedly.