Despite same-sex marriage getting most of the headlines, there are a handful of other issues that affect the lives of LGBT families. Most notably, same-sex adoption, as the argument from those against it is no longer ‘gay people are wrong’ and is now ‘gay people shouldn’t have the right to raise families’.
And this is a common line from the anti-gay camp, with baseless claims about the lack of a father or mother figure being detrimental to children often being thrown around. While such ideas are clearly ludicrous, there’s also evidence to support the fact that children with lesbian parents have both a higher self-esteem and lower conduct problems.
Yet, despite there being some very good reasons to let adoptions by same-sex couples go ahead, plenty still do their bit to stop them. That’s what happened in Utah earlier this year but after a new ruling, same-sex parent adoptions in the state can now continue.
The original stay on adoptions by same-sex couples was issued by Republican state attorney general Sean Reyes back in May. Whilst there didn’t appear to be any good reasoning for it, the stay affected the lives of over 1,300 couples who legally married during a brief, 17-day period of marriage equality in the state and were now looking to start a family.
Under Utah law, there are no second-parent adoptions. This means that if one parent gave birth to the child (or was their biological parent), then because of that law the other parent would be unable to adopt the child and would therefore have no legal rights.
However, there was a surprising turnaround when Reyes recently changed his mind, asking for the stay that he initially put in place to be lifted. While the move can be categorised as ‘flip-flopping’ or just as a genuine change of heart, many are attributing the decision to the Supreme Court ruling on October 6th that legalised same-sex marriage in the state.
As a result, Utah is now one step closer to total equality which is good news that cannot be argued with.