Target: Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
Goal: Stop Mitt Romney from trivializing struggles faced by gay couples looking to adopt.
Last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a claim to a CBS affiliate that “all states but one allow gay adoption” (abcnews.go.com). Although it is true that there is only one state (Mississippi) which has a specific law barring gay couples from adopting a child, this does not necessarily mean that gay adoption is always allowed in every other state.
As of now, only 18 states and Washington, D.C. allow joint adoption for same-sex couples, in which both partners are simultaneously elected custodians of the adopted child. Second parent adoption, where one parent adopts a child and their partner later petitions to become the second guardian, has been allowed in select districts in 8 more states. Many states, though, have extremely vague laws on adoption by same-sex couples, leaving the matter mostly to judges’ discretion. Depending on the judge, this sort of imprecise policy can have devastating effects for same-sex couples trying to adopt a child.
Although not a supporter of same-sex marriage, Romney has previously expressed support for same-sex adoption both in his home state of Massachusetts and elsewhere, so long as it is left as a state issue. Ask candidate Romney to do his research before he speaks and admit that adopting a child is still a major struggle for many same-sex couples.
Dear candidate Romney,
Last Friday, you made a claim that all states but one allow adoption for same-sex couples. Although there is only one state that specifically bars gay couples from adopting, this does not necessarily mean the other 49 have clear cut policies allowing same-sex couples to adopt: in fact, only 18 states have such laws. You have been a supporter of same-sex adoption in the past where it remains a state issue, including in your home state of Massachusetts. However, your statement last Friday severely trivializes the struggles that many same-sex couples face in trying to adopt a child.
Please take the time to do some research on same-sex adoption laws as they stand across the U.S. before you speak casually on the matter of same-sex adoption. Once you have, I believe you will see that a revision of your statement that all states but one allow gay adoption is in order.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Drab Makyo