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Same-sex couples still face biases in the adoption process

The rights of same-sex couples in Illinois have expanded with 2015's legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide. While this and other rights may give same-sex couples a greater opportunity to adopt a child if they so choose, unfortunately social biases still exist that may prevent them from doing so, despite the fact that thousands of children nationwide are in need of parents.

For example, a same-sex couple from Illinois started the road toward adoption when they took in a newborn child who had been born into foster care. A number of years later, the couple adopted not only that child, but also the child's four biological older brothers and sister, who were also in need of parents and were living in foster care. Despite this success story, some politicians in the United States want to allow faith-based adoption agencies to disallow same-sex couples from adopting.

In fact, legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress that would make it so that state-funded adoption agencies could refuse to allow unmarried or same-sex couples to adopt if they religiously object to doing so. Such biases may make same-sex couples reluctant to adopt even if they want to have a child, due to the stigma and possible rejection they may face.

In some parts of the country, including Illinois, Catholic Charities are required to allow same-sex couples to adopt. However, rather than complying with this mandate, some of these charities have simply ceased their adoption services.

This is unfortunate, as same-sex couples are three times more apt to adopt a child than opposite-sex couples. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015 when same-sex couples were allowed to legally marry, 44,000 children had been adopted by same-sex couples, which is double what this number was estimated to believe two years prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that they would be supportive and loving parents, stigmas and biases still make it difficult for some same-sex couples to adopt. Therefore, same-sex couples looking to adopt may want to engage the assistance of an attorney to ensure their rights are not violated.

Source: U.S. News, "For Advocates of Gay Adoption, Progress but Also Obstacles," David Crary, June 17, 2017

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