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LGBT couples could face increased adoption discrimination

Potential LGBT parents in Florida and across the country may be concerned about Congressional moves to hinder their ability to adopt. Across the country, around 114,000 of the 700,000 same-sex couples that share a home have children. While most gay parents are raising biological children, over 20 percent have adopted. In comparison, only 3 percent of opposite-sex couples are raising adopted children. Furthermore, nearly 3 percent of gay families are foster parents while only 0.4 percent of straight families are.

This reflects not only the necessity of adoption for gay couples to grow their families but also a real appreciation for the power of love and choosing one's families. According to abundant research, the biological and adopted children of LGBT parents fare equally well, and in some cases better, as those of straight parents. Nevertheless, over the years, gay families have faced obstacles in adoption that have come down in the past decade as more laws protect same-sex couples' right to adopt and foster kids.

However, an Alabama member of Congress has introduced an amendment that would allow adoption agencies that define themselves as faith-based to refuse to place kids with LGBT families. In addition, if states attempt to enforce anti-discrimination laws for these agencies, the federal Department of Health and Human Services would withhold 15 percent of the state's funding for much-needed child welfare services. Various states and localities have prohibited religious agencies to operate child welfare agencies, including adoption services, if they discriminate against same-sex couples or LGBT youth.

On the other hand, some states already allow religious agencies to receive taxpayer funds while discriminating against same-sex couples. An adoption attorney can work with a same-sex couple thinking about adoption to help them complete their family and avoid discrimination in the process.

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