Nevada News Service
marriage equality, and 13 states plus the District of Columbia now
allow same-sex marriage. But what about lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender couples and individuals who want to adopt children?
That area, too, has opened up somewhat, according to Ellen Kahn,
director of the Human Rights Coalition, but she said much more needs
to be done.
“If you call and say, ‘I’m a gay man. My partner and I are interested
in adopting,’ there are still places that will say, ‘No, thank you,’
and hang up the phone,” Kahn said.
Even in the most conservative states, she said, there are pathways to
LGBT adoption, and work on expanding them continues in legislatures
and courts. She said she senses that a corner has been turned and, as
marriage equality spreads, adoption will correspondingly become
HelpUsAdopt.org raises money and offers grants to help people with the
enormous costs of adoption. A non-discriminatory policy has been a
cornerstone of the organization’s work, said co-founder Becky Fawcett,
adding that it has not always been popular.
“We do have some donors who left because of our stance on what a
family is,” Fawcett said, “and I have lost prospective board members
for our stance — and I have received hate mail because of our stance.
About 15 percent to 20 percent of her group’s grants have gone to LGBT
adopters, Fawcett estimated, adding that she wishes more would apply.
Kahn said she sees hesitancy, too.
“A lot of LGBT folks and same-sex couples who want to adopt are afraid
to take that first step,” Kahn said, “because there is a fear that
‘We’re going to be scrutinized differently than other folks,’ or that,
‘We’re going to just be met with a no.’”
Kahn believes the momentum in the state-by-state move toward marriage
equality can only make things better regarding adoption, she said.
“With all the states coming on board with marriage equality,” Fawcett
said, “I am hopeful that there will be more LGBT families adopting.
And we are here to help.”