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Gay couples may still face hurdles in adopting children

Same-sex couples in Florida may still struggle to adopt children through the state's foster care system despite the nationwide legalization of gay marriage. Even though the state overturned a ban on gay couples adopting in 2010, they may still face discrimination. They may not be prioritized, or case workers might find something that ostensibly shows they will not be fit parents when in fact they are biased against same-sex couples.

However, prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, couples had even more hurdles to overcome. One couple had to adopt children in the name of only one of them and then go through a second legal process to have the other member of the couple named as a parent.

A law that would have allowed contractors to turn down gay couples who wanted to adopt if allowing the adoption violated their religious principles failed to pass the Florida senate in 2015 although some states are considering enacting similar laws. Studies consistently show that children adopted by gay couples do not suffer additional difficulties as a result of having gay parents, and many states that prohibited gay marriage and adoption are now updating their paperwork to make it gender neutral.

Despite the laws being changed in their favor, same-sex couples may want to be careful about assuming that they retain all the rights of opposite-sex couples in adoption or that they will not face discrimination. If they do run into problems in the state system, they may wish to look into private adoption or international adoption. Whether working with the state foster system or considering private international agencies, people may wish to consult an attorney regarding their rights. They may also wish to work with an attorney to ensure that after marriage, both are legally considered the parents of any children they have together.

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