Saturday, October 17, 2009
Federal bill seeks to ban adoption bans at the state level
Congressman Pete Stark (D-California) has introduced H.R., 3827, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. The bill would prohibit entities that receive federal funding from denying adoptions solely based on the marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the prospective adoptive parents.
According to Congressman Stark:
When considering a potential placement for a child, the only criteria should be what is in the child’s best interest and whether the prospective parents can provide a safe and nurturing home. Bigotry should play no part in this decision. That is why I am introducing the “Every Child Deserves a Family Act.” This legislation would simply prohibit any entity that receives Federal child welfare funds from denying or delaying adoption or foster care placements based solely on the prospective parent’s marital status or sexual orientation. States and child welfare agencies that fail to end discriminatory practices would face financial penalties. This is the same approach that put an end to race discrimination in adoption and foster care placements.
If passed, this bill would obviously scuttle legislation in Tennessee and other states like SB 0078. The backlash is likely to take the form of Tenth Amendment angst. But, as Congressman Stark notes, the studies indicate that children do well in a variety of family settings. And if that's the case, then we probably should consider the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, too. The bill, like other legislation affecting the GLBT community, is in for a long road to passage, but it's a good step.