A federal bill introduced Monday would
penalize states with anti-gay adoption laws, gay weekly the
Congressman Pete Stark's Every Child
Deserves a Family Act would deny funding to states that ban gay,
lesbian, transgender and unmarried people from adoption or foster
“Despite the shortage of adoptive and
foster parents and the terrible consequences of long stays in the
child welfare system, some states have enacted discriminatory bans
prohibiting children from being placed with qualified parents due to
the parent's marital status or sexual orientation,” Stark said on
the House floor.
“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,” the California Democrat said. “Bigotry
should play no part in this decision.”
Florida is the only state that bans gay
people from adoption outright.
Other states have enacted laws that
exclude gay couples in roundabout ways, including several that forbid
unmarried couples from adoption in states that outlaw gay marriage.
While relatively few states have
enacted anti-gay adoption legislation, the bill cites an Evan B.
Donaldson Adoption Institute study which found that one-third of U.S.
child welfare agencies reject gay applicants.
The legislation would allow people who
have been discriminated against to sue in federal court. And the
bill would penalize states with discriminatory laws by withholding
Social Security funds at the discretion of the Secretary of Health
and Human Services.
The bill is headed to the House Ways &
Means subcommittee but no hearings have been scheduled.