Change the World

Bill Allowing Discrimination Against LGBTQ Adoptive Parents Advances in Tennessee

Tennessee's anti-LGBTQ adoption bill still needs to be passed by the State Senate and signed by the Governor before becoming law.

Just this past week, we received the good news that Michigan will no longer permit state welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBQT parents in adoption proceedings, bringing the total number of states with so-called "religious freedom" exemption down to 9.

However, anti-LGBTQ advocates in two states, Tennessee and Arkansas, are both attempting to pass similar statewide "religious freedom" bills. The effort in Tennessee just received a major boost after passing the state's House of Representatives on Monday. The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, both of which are currently controlled by Republicans.

Chris Sanders, the executive director of Tennessee Equality Project, put out a statement saying, "If this bill becomes law, same-sex couples, people of various religious beliefs, and people with no religious beliefs now face the prospect of being turned away from adoption agencies that they helped fund because they are labeled morally or religiously objectionable, which leaves children and youth with longer wait times for permanent homes."

Will be sure to keep readers posted as the story unfolds in both Tennessee and Arkansas.


Gay Dad Family Stories

Fatherhood Came Without Warning for These Two Young Gay Dads

Johnny and Adam were in their early 20s and had just started dating when a family friend asked if they could take a four-year-old boy into their home

When Johnny Guzman Tarango and Adam Tarango met in 2012, introduced by a mutual friend, they were both seeing other people at the time. What began as friendship quickly became passionate after breaking with their respective boyfriends to be with each other. Johnny was 20 years old and Adam was 21. The couple called Phoenix, Arizona home. Both were young, carefree, and very much in love.

Although Adam wanted to be a dad someday, Johnny was undecided. In January 2014, the couple were confronted with one of the biggest decisions of their lives: fatherhood.

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Change the World

Michigan Will No Longer Permit Discrimination Against LGBTQ Adoptive Parents

Michigan just rescinded its "religious freedom" law that allowed child welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

According to LGBTQ Nation, Michigan will no longer allow faith-based adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples. The decision is thanks in part to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home not only goes against the state's goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state," said Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nessel, who is raising two kids with her wife, Alanna Maguire, is the first LGBTQ person to ever be elected statewide in Michigan.

As LGBTQ Nation reports, LGBTQ advocates widely applauded the decision:

"Our children need every family that is willing and able to provide them with a loving home," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, in a press release. "When agencies choose to accept taxpayer dollars to provide public child welfare services, they must put the needs of the children first."

"Attorney General Nessel makes clear Michigan's commitment to uphold existing nondiscrimination protections," said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality Council, in a statement. "Furthermore, Nessel's statement demonstrates that she understands that while religious freedom is a core American value, religious beliefs should never be used as an excuse to harm others, or in this case, to reduce the number of loving homes available to children in the Michigan child welfare system."

Michigan's decision brings the total number of states with so-called "religious freedom" laws that permit discrimination against LGBTQ would-be parents down to nine: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Two other states, Arkansas and Tennessee, are attempting to pass "religious freedom" bills this year:

Read more here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

Demolition Daddies: These Gay Dads Recently Appeared on House Hunters Renovation

The dads say their star turn on the popular HGTV show is all thanks to their two-year-old son, Theo, who charmed the producers

"I'm really not sure what our lives were like before having our son," pondered Matt. "I remember always doing stuff, but I have no idea how I wasted all that personal time that I find so precious now. I took so many showers without someone trying to pull all the towels down to make a bed on the bathroom floor. It must have been nice, but also wasn't as memorable."

Matt DeLeva and fiancé Joseph Littlefield met in 2014 at a Pride event at the San Diego Zoo, and have a 2-year-old son Theo through adoption. For this Los Angeles-based couple, and like many others, becoming dads was an emotional rollercoaster. Before being matched with Theo's birth family, they had two other connections with birth moms that didn't work out. "Each was upsetting," said Matt. "When you talk to birth mothers, you start to get excited and mentally plan your future. When it doesn't work out, it feels like a loss."

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Change the World

Meet the Gay Dad Running For Common Council in South Bend, Indiana

Move over Mayor Pete Buttigieg! South Bend, Indiana may soon have another gay politico in the form of Alex Giorgio-Rubin, a dad of a 12-year-old adopted son.

You've probably heard of Pete Buttigieg, the young gay mayor running to be the Democratic nominee to challenge President Trump in 2020. But the town of South Bend, Indiana, may soon have another gay politico rising star in the form of Alex Giorgio-Rubin, a dad to a 12-year-old son.

Alex is running for a seat on South Bend's Common Council, in part, he says, to help make all families – including ones like his own – feel welcome.

As an out, married, gay dad, living in a Jewish household, raising a son who is on the Autism spectrum, Alex feels he can offer a unique perspective. "We come from the state that produced Mike Pence," said Alex. "We come from the state that made national headlines because of a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation; it's fair to say that the cards are stacked against my family, and many, many other families like mine."

Alex, who is currently a stay-at-home dad raising his adopted son, 12-year-old Joseph, is married to Joshua Giorgio-Rubin, a Senior English Lecturer at the Indiana University of South Bend. The two have been together for six years.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Two British 'Poofs' Blog About Their Journey to Fatherhood Via Adoption

In their blog "Two Poofs and a Pudding," Tim and Darran write about their adoption journey as same-sex parents in the U.K.

Tim and Darran met online in December 2015. They met for a drink on December 18, and by New Year's Eve they were "official." When the subject of becoming dads came up, they were both excited but at a loss as to where to start. In 2017, after deciding adoption was the right path for them, they began their journey and in the process, started a website to chronicle their experience and to help others who were considering same-sex adoption in the UK: Two Poofs and a Pudding. Fast forward 18 months, their "Pudding" is at home with his dads. Here's their experience with the UK adoption journey, so far.

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Gay Dad Life

New Dad Andy Cohen Uses Today Show Appearance to Talk About Complications Facing Gay Men on Path to Parenthood

New dad Andy Cohen talked about the challenges facing many gay men when trying to decide between adoption and surrogacy

Bravo's Andy Cohen, who recently became a new dad via surrogacy, has wasted no time drawing attention to many of the complicated choices facing gay men on their paths to parenthood. During a recent appearance on the Today Show, hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb asked him how he made made the decision between adoption and surrogacy.

Cohen noted, first, that he was lucky to have the means to do surrogacy, which costs an average of $120,000. But he also noted there would have been complications on his path, no matter which route he had chosen. Surrogacy, he noted, is not legal in all 50 states. "It's incredible to me, as I've now learned, that surrogacy isn't legal in all 50 states," he said. "It's illegal in New York and New Jersey, which is why I went to California."

Cohen then also drew attention to the difficulty many LGBTQ people face trying to adopt. Though he stated it was "illegal to adopt" for gay people in certain places, this is technically not true. (The Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling in 2015 paved the way for LGBTQ people to adopt, legally, in all 50 states, but some states have since passed laws that make it legal for state-licensed welfare agencies to discriminate against LGBQT people on the basis of religion).

Still, we applaud Cohen, who also recently opened up to People Magazine about his journey to fatherhood, for using his platform to speak out about challenges facing gay men who want to become dads.

Watch the whole segment here.

Change the World

Over 1 in 10 Children Adopted in the U.K. by LGBTQ Parents

The rate of adoption by LGBTQ couples in England has more than doubled in recent years, while the rate for different-sex couples has hit a seven-year low.

According to a recent article in Express, the chances of being adopted by a gay or lesbian couple in England has doubled in recent years, while the numbers placed with a different-sex couple have hit a seven-year low. "Figures for England show that over the past six years 2,389 children have been placed with same-sex couples," the article says. "During this period the proportion being handed to gay or lesbian couples has soared from six per cent of all adoptions to 12 per cent. The numbers placed with different-sex couples has fallen from 4,380 three years ago to 2,970."

The article references a study by Cambridge University's Centre for Family Research into the experiences of adoptive families headed by same-sex couples that says (what we've all long known) that "children adopted by gay or lesbian people are just as likely to thrive as those adopted by heterosexual couples."

"Being a good parent has nothing to do with sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Laura Russell, head of policy at Stonewall UK, says in the piece. "And it's encouraging to see more same-sex couples adopting. The important thing is for a child to have a loving family."

The decline in adoption among different sex couples, the article notes, may be because of increased success rates for couples seeking fertility treatments via IVF.

Read the whole article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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