Lawmakers consider allowing same-sex couples to adopt together
DENVER – Same-sex partners and other unmarried couples would be able to adopt children together under a bill proponents say would better protect children and also help grandparents.The measure (House Bill 1330), released Tuesday, is sponsored by House Majority Leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, and Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver.Under current Colorado law, individual gay parents may adopt but not same-sex couples. Married couples currently are allowed to adopt each other’s children from previous relationships under stepparent adoption, said Pat Steadman, a lobbyist for Equal Rights Colorado, a gay rights group that is backing the bill.Jim Pfaff, president of Colorado Family Action, said it’s not good public policy to encourage children to be placed in homes without a mother and a father. He said he didn’t know if grandparents would try to take advantage of the bill, if it passes, but said they’re not the group advocating for the bill.”We need to be lifting up the gold standard when it comes to these issues, and that is a mother and a father in the home,” said Pfaff, whose group is one of 35 Colorado-based public policy groups with links to Focus on the Family.Same-sex parents would have been allowed to adopt as couples under Referendum I, which voters rejected last fall. The referendum also would have allowed gay couples to file as domestic partners with the state.The new bill would allow gay couples and any other two people who aren’t married to adopt. For example, Steadman said, a grandparent who is raising a child may want another adult who is helping with the child’s upbringing to also be named as a legal parent to take over in case the grandparent dies.Steadman, who helped draft Referendum I, said most gay couples who would take advantage of the bill, if it passes, are already raising a child together, but only one is legally recognized as the parent, with legal rights to take the child to the doctor and consent to medical treatment.If both partners are allowed to adopt a child, Steadman said the child could qualify for health and life insurance from the other partner if one dies.Veiga said the winners or losers in the issue are children.”Under our existing system, kids are losing all the time,” said Veiga, who said a previous version of the bill was introduced and killed when Republicans controlled the Legislature.She said she doesn’t think the failure of Referendum I means that voters oppose same-sex couples from adopting.”This isn’t an effort to pass a civil unions bill or pass Referendum I. It’s tackling one very small, identifiable problem,” Veiga said.According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states – California, Connecticut and Vermont – allow what is referred to as second-parent adoption, which allows same-sex couples to adopt together. Steadman said six other states – Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania – along with the District of Columbia allow it because of appeals court rulings.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User