The Every Child Deserves a Family Act would prohibit federally funded adoption and foster programs from discriminating families based on sexual orientation and gender identity, or marital status.
According to the Family Equality Council, seven states ban a person in a gay relationship from adopting his or her partner’s children. In another five states, gay couples face legal restrictions when petitioning for joint adoption. Overall, the Council has found that LGBT people face hurdles when looking to adopt or foster children in 39 states.
“Why ... should more than 400,000 children remain in foster care -- 104,000 of whom are eligible for adoption -- when they could receive this support from loving, capable, and qualified lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents?” PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby said in a statement.
“This is truly discrimination at its worst: hurtful to the people who are being denied the opportunity to become parents, and harmful to thousands of vulnerable children being denied the opportunity for stable, loving, permanent homes.”
The representatives hope the momentum of the gay rights movement will help them pass the bill. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also co-introduced a nationwide anti-bullying bill last month.
Former GOP Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan said on May first that he regretted voting against gay adoptions over 10 years ago and would now vote differently.
“Adoption, I’d vote differently these days,” he said. “That was, I think, a vote I took in my first term, 2000 or 1999. I do believe that if there are children who are orphans who do not have a loving person or couple — I think if a person wants to love and raise a child they ought to be able to do that. Period.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics also came out in favor of letting gay people adopt children, concluding there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay parents are worse-off than children raised by heterosexual parents.
"Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage," Dr. Benjamin Siegel, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health and a co-author of the policy said in statement.