Senator Gillibrand to Introduce LGBT-Friendly Adoption Nondiscrimination Bill

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has confirmed to the Washington Blade that at some point in the future she will introduce legislation that, if enacted, would make it illegal to discriminate against gay couples on the basis of their sexuality when they come to adopt a child.

However, the Senator, who has been an outspoken advocate for such LGBT rights causes as the repeal of DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), declined to say when she’d make the legislation public and is also keeping the exact nature of the bill under wraps for now. 

From the Washington Blade:

Asked by the Washington Blade whether she’d introduce the legislation, Gillibrand replied, “Yes.”


A Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Senate supporters of the legislation are developing a strategy for success over the coming months, but for time being Senator Gillibrand is focused on building momentum for bills introduced this week that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

In the previous Congress, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced in the House legislation known as the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which aimed to bar adoption discrimination against LGBT families. As it was previously written, the bill would restrict federal funds for states if they have laws or practices that discriminate in adoption on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Brian Cook, a Stark spokesperson, said the House lawmaker is aiming to reintroduce the bill this spring in concert with the Senate companion.

Some states still have de facto bans on same-sex couples adopting by restricting marriage to one man and a woman and in tandem with this restricting adoption rights to married couples alone.

Advocates will be watching closely for this new legislation and especially how far it goes in prohibiting discrimination when factored against other existing legislation like the federal Defense of Marriage Act. While it is certainly true to say that effective nondiscrimination legislation could be passed with DOMA still on the books, the job would be made much easier should DOMA be overturned.

Of particular interest may be what the legislation has to say on second parent and joint adoptions, which, while several states do allow gay people to adopt, still remains a more contentious issue as it deals with legalese surrounding family and spousal rights, often a thorny subject if seen to conflict with state and federal marriage bans.

Florida, the only state to have an explicit ban on same-sex couples adopting,  saw its ban overturned by a federal court, a decision which was upheld on appeal last year. You can read more about that here.

If you would like to find out about adoption laws with regards to same-sex couples as they stand in your state, you can click here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Nerdcoregirl.


Alexandra O.
Alex O6 years ago

We need more Gillibrand's in office.

kenny s.
Kenny Stidham6 years ago

Go to YouTube and watch "The Ally Effect". This young coach is amazing and will help make the world a better place for all gays.

Jessica C.
Jessica C6 years ago

Good to hear, we must never stop fighting for equal rights. It was not that long ago that mixed race couples here in the US faced the same fearful rhetoric and bigotry as these couples do today, if we fail to fight for and uphold the rights of just one person, then the rights of the majority mean nothing and will eventually fade away .

Jane H.
Jane H6 years ago

My gay son is the father of 2 very wonderful children who he had by artificial insemination with a lesbian couple. The children both had the same mon and dad. They are now 19 and 16. The 19 year old is straight, and we don't know about the 16 year old yet. Being gay is NOT catching!!

Bryon S.
Bryon S6 years ago

@ Pooch...have you ever told your lesbian aunt that she is "unnatural?" I wonder what she would have to say about that. Also, is her dog gay? Because, according to you, gay people magically produce dysfunctional hormones in their children right? Why don't you ask your aunt why she didn't want to adopt. I bet the answer is because society has too many ignorant bigots like you and not because she could not be a good parent. Children who grow up in gay households have every chance of becoming happy, productive and "normal" and my (adult) children are perfect examples. In fact, they are better off because they are not homophobic.

Tamara D.
Tamara Dreier6 years ago

Cheers to Kristin! Thank you for keeping up the good fight.

Christine S.

There are plenty of horrible hetero parents out there- maybe gays will be better parents!

KayL NOFORWARDS6 years ago

A big "Bravo! to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Sharon H.
Sharon H6 years ago

Alice B...
I'm with you about the picture. It's great!

Alice B.
Alice B6 years ago

p.s. Thanks, Steve, for choosing this particular lovely photograph for your article. Every time I see this picture it brings tears of gratitude, love, wonder and poignancy to my eyes. This is what it is all about: the right to love and a family for the KIDS.