Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Louisiana House to gay adoptive parents: Buzz off

Posted by on Tue, May 12, 2009 at 11:17 PM

In this week's lead news story, "The Gay Parent Trap," David Winkler-Schmit examines why gay and lesbian adoptive parents in Louisiana are reluctant to challenge the law that allows only one member of a couple to have his or her name on the birth certificate -- they're afraid that pressing the issue will result in state laws prohibiting gays and single people from adopting.

Looks like they may have a point:

Handing a victory to social conservatives, the House voted by a wide margin today to affirm that the state will not issue birth certificates listing the names of two unmarried parents who adopt a Louisiana-born child in another state.

The 77-18 vote on House Bill 60 comes amid the state's appeal of a December ruling from U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey, who sided with two California men seeking a revised birth certificate listing both of them as the fathers of the Shreveport-born toddler they adopted in a New York court in 2006. That case now awaits action by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As Winkler pointed out in his story:

It's a difficult situation for gay and lesbian couples, and it's not exclusive to Louisiana. In 18 states, including Louisiana, there is no prohibition against gay adoption — sexual orientation isn't mentioned in the adoption laws — so gays and lesbians can adopt, but they can't apply for two-parent adoption. With only one of the couple's names on the birth certificate, the other person has no legal parental rights to the children he or she is raising.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state legislature, the state Senate made it a crime punishable by 10 years in prison for anyone in Louisiana to create "human-animal hybrids," so all in all it was a busy day in Baton Rouge less than three weeks before the start of hurricane season.

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