Family Matters. Our Kids Matter.
We are hurting our children.
Consider: Approximately 500,000 children in the U.S. are in foster care. Many spend more than 36 continuous months in the system. And more than 120,000 children languish in the public child welfare system—all while responsible, nurturing adults are prevented from adopting them.
Meanwhile, between 1 million and 9 million American children are not given the same federal protections that are available to other children—through no fault of their own.
Do you give a damn?
A child’s best interest?
We can all agree that in situations such as adoption, we first need to consider what’s in the best interests of the child.
Mainstream child health and social service organizations have gone on record to support adoption by qualified lesbian and gay parents. Major medical and child welfare organizations—including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America and National Association of Social Workers—also support parenting by lesbian and gay adults.
Yet 3 states have blanket adoption bans in place, prohibiting any lesbian or gay couple from adopting—even if both parents have demonstrated their fitness as parents, even when the couple has already been caring for a child for the majority of the child’s life. Two additional states say unmarried couples may not jointly adopt. Four other states do not allow any second-parent adoptions. And in many states, the parenting law for gay and transgender people is unclear.
Imagine if, as a child in the welfare system, you could never be sure whether you’d be torn away from the only adults who have ever cared for you and nurtured you.
Imagine if you could never legally call someone your mom or dad—even though they have been raising you since birth.
And while there is virtually nothing a parent wouldn’t do to protect and care for their children, the 6 million to 14 million lesbian and gay parents in this country literally cannot do all they would like to ensure the emotional and financial security of their children.
That’s because current federal and state regulations extend thousands of protections to married couples and their families, but not necessarily to same-sex couples and their families.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, for example, a married parent can take leave from work to care for their sick child. But a lesbian or gay parent who hasn’t been allowed to adopt their partner’s child is not guaranteed the same right and could potentially lose their job.
And since many companies—not to mention the federal government—do not provide the same health insurance benefits for their gay employees, those employees’ health insurance won’t cover their domestic partners or the children of their domestic partners who are not adopted by the employee.
And, should a married parent pass away, they will know their Social Security benefits will go to their spouse and children. But hard-working gay Americans who have also spent their working lives building up their Social Security and retirement accounts cannot ensure the same financial security for their families.
Imagine if your child were truly ill—and you weren’t able to take time off work to care for them.
Imagine not knowing how your children will survive if you should unexpectedly pass away.
The real victims
The real victims of these laws and regulations, of course, are our children.
So isn’t it time we gave a damn? Or should we continue to deliberately fail our children?
It’s time for things to change.
JOIN GIVE A DAMN!
Knowledge is power. We all need to stay informed.
- Download the Damn PDF about Parenting
- Watch one of our Damn Videos or read people’s Personal Stories
- Check out our Damn Blog
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube
Spread the word. Encourage the people in your life to get involved—especially if they’re straight and have never given this issue a lot of thought. Simply:
- Share one of our Damn Videos or someone’s Personal Story
- Share Your Personal Story
- Download and use some Damn Stuff
GET MORE INFORMED AND INVOLVED
Visit our nonprofit partner’s website; they’re experts on parenting. They can provide you a ton of additional resources and ways to get involved:
Information on this page was provided by:
- Human Rights Campaign: “Answers to Questions About Marriage Equality.”
- Human Rights Campaign: “The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act”
- Human Rights Campaign: “Family Matters: Securing Equal Treatment under Federal Law for Same-Sex Couples and Our Children”
- Human Rights Campaign: “The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act”
- Human Rights Campaign: “Parenting FAQs”
- Human Rights Campaign: “Parenting Laws: Joint Adoption” and “Parenting Laws: Second Parent Adoption”
- Human Rights Campaign: “Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act”
- Human Rights Campaign: “What to Do if Second-Parent Adoption is Unavailable”
- Bushlow, Abby Lynn. “Information Packet: Gay and Lesbian Second Parent Adoptions,” National Resource for Foster Care & Permanency Planning at the Hunter College School of Social Work, May 2004.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders: “Talking About: Adoption & Gay Parents,” 2009.
- The Williams institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, UCLAS School of Law: “Same-Sex Couples and Same-Sex Couples Raising Children in the United States: Data from Census 2000”
Get informed and get involved. Register to join the campaign and let us know you give a damn about equality.
Spread the word about equality. Watch our damn videos and share them with the people in your life!play
Share your story with us and the people in your life. Tell us why you give a damn about equality!play
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