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Cyndi Lauper

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Elton John

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Judith Light

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Parenting:

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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 2 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.

Limited protections

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.

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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:

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