On the heels of a study showing that more queer families than ever plan on having children, the American Bar Association adopted a resolution and report stating that LGBTQ parents face “state-sanctioned discrimination” and calling for equal treatment of queer parents under the law. The American Bar Association, which is the main professional organization for lawyers and law students in the United States, passed the resolution early this week after finding that many states were not treating LGBTQ parents equally when it comes to adoption and foster care.
The American Bar Association’s report finds that “state-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT individuals who wish to raise children has dramatically increased in recent years.” Currently, ten states allow state-licensed child welfare agencies to refuse to place adoptive or foster children with LGBTQ individuals or couples if it would conflict their religious or moral beliefs. While two of these laws, those in North Dakota and Virginia, were passed in the early 2000s, the remaining eight laws were not signed until after gay marriage became legal nationwide in 2015. Michigan, Mississippi, South Dakota, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Carolina all passed laws allowing state agencies to discriminate against LGTBQ foster and adoptive parents between 2015 and 2018. This means that thousands of queer parents who wish to adopt or raise foster children can be denied that opportunity based on their sexual orientation and where they live.
The resolution and report called on states to repeal these discriminatory laws and called for lawyers to fight cases of anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
“LGBT individuals possess the same fundamental right to parent as non-LGBT individuals,” the report found. “By supporting an LGBT-inclusive understanding of parental rights, the ABA can stand with all families to ensure that children nationwide can grow up in loving, supportive, permanent homes.”