Sixty percent of US adoption agencies accepting gays' applications: survey
October 30, 2003
NEW YORK — About 60 percent of the United States' adoption agencies now accept applications from gays and lesbians, though resistance remains strong among many church-affiliated agencies, a new survey by a leading adoption institute says.
Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, predicted the holdouts would grow fewer in number as more homosexuals try to become parents.
"We started out near zero, and just within the last decade we're up to 60 percent," Pertman said. "The reality on the ground is way outpacing the policy debate."
Debate over parenting by gays has been an important element in the broader dispute over whether to permit same-sex marriage.
Opponents of gay adoption say children do best growing up with both a mother and father, and they contend same-sex marriages would make it easier for gays to adopt. Supporters say gays, whether single or as a couple, can provide a loving home for children who otherwise would be in institutions or foster care.
The Donaldson Institute survey did not attempt to estimate the number of children adopted by gays; instead, it surveyed 307 adoption agencies -277 private and 30 public - regarding their
According to the survey, 60 percent of the agencies accept applications from self-identified gays and lesbians, and 40 percent of the agencies have placed children with such parents.
The agencies most likely to place children with homosexuals were either public, private and secular, or Jewish- and Lutheran-affiliated, the institute said. Other agencies that were
affiliated with religious denominations were less likely to welcome
applications from gays, it said.
Attitudes also varied according to the agencies' focus. The
institute said agencies specializing in children with special needs
or in international adoptions were relatively more open toward
About half the agencies said they routinely informed birth
parents before placing a child with a gay adoptive parent. About
one-fourth of the agencies said some birth parents had objected to
such a placement or specifically asked that their child not be
placed in a gay-led household.
Though a majority of agencies worked with lesbians and gays,
only 19 percent made specific efforts to seek them out, the survey
Overall, the institute said the findings were good news for gays
who want to become parents.
"For homosexuals wishing to become parents, the results paint a
more encouraging picture than is often portrayed or perceived," the
survey summary said. "Although stereotypes and misconceptions still
perpetuate policy and practice... the willingness of adoption
agencies to accept gay and lesbian adults as parents means more and
more waiting children are moving into permanent, loving families."
Florida is the only state that explicitly bans adoption by any
gay person; its law is being challenged by gay foster parents
backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Mississippi bans
adoption by gay couples, while Utah forbids adoption by any
unmarried couple, including gay couples.
In August, the American Bar Association approved a
recommendation that all states and courts allow gay partners and
unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt children together.
Such adoptions give both parents legal rights and allow children
to qualify for inheritance and other benefits from both parents.
Currently, many states allow only one unmarried adult to adopt a
child, even if the child will live with two adults who act as
The spread of gay adoption had been opposed by many conservative
organizations, who say the practice puts gay-rights objectives
ahead of children's best interests.
"Unmarried and homosexual partners simply cannot provide the
stability that married heterosexual couples can give," says a
position paper on the issue by Concerned Women for America.
Officials in Florida have taken a similar stance in defending
their ban. Attorney General Casey Walker argued in court that the
state has a right to legislate its "moral disapproval of
homosexuality" and its belief that children need a married mother
and father. –Sapa-AP
Federal judge rules Florida's ban on gay adoptions is valid [30/08/2001]