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How LGBTQ adoption laws vary from state to state

In 2015, the Supreme Court held that gay couples had the right to marry in every state. However, laws about other rights for LGBTQ couples vary widely from state to state – adoption laws in particular. Some states have passed legislation to protect adoptive parents from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Others have remained silent on the issue. Still, others have laws that seem to contradict themselves.

In today’s post, we take a closer look at different laws that impact couples’ ability to adopt.

Protection only goes so far in some states

Laws relating to adoption for LGBTQ couples can be complicated, even contradictory. Michigan, for example, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity during the adoption process. At the same time, another law in the same state allows state-licensed adoption agencies to refuse service to LGBTQ couples for religious reasons.  

When organizations can refuse adoption assistance

The following nine states have laws allowing groups to refuse adoption help to LGBTQ couples:

  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

Florida’s ban on adoption by gay couples was ruled unconstitutional in 2010, and LGBTQ adoption officially legalized in 2015. State-run agencies in Florida cannot discriminate based on someone’s sexual orientation. However, since there is no law to the contrary, organizations that do not receive state funding may still be able to refuse service based on their religious beliefs.

An attorney well-versed in Florida’s adoption laws can help individuals and couples understand how these different rules may impact their ability to adopt. They can help adoptive parents protect their rights and get the assistance they need to expand their family.

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