State Laws and Legislation

California Adoption Law

Permits single LGBT individuals to petition to adopt? Yes.
California law states that an adult related to the child, a person named in a deceased parent’s will, a legal guardian, or a person with whom the child has been placed for adoption is permitted to petition to adopt. CAL. FAM. CODE § 8802.

Permits a same-sex couple to jointly petition to adopt? Yes.

Permits a same-sex co-parent to petition to adopt partner’s child or child of the relationship? Yes.
In 2003, the state Supreme Court affirmed that a same-sex co-parent can petition to adopt his or her partner’s child or child of the relationship. (Sharon S. v. Superior Court, 73 P.3d 554 (Cal. 2003)) Registered domestic partners can use the state’s stepparent adoption laws to adopt each other’s children or children of the relationship. (CAL. FAM. CODE § 9000(b))

Details: The state regulations do not address whether sexual orientation is a considered factor in adoption decisions. CAL. CODE REGS. tit. 22, § 35181. However, California’s 2003 Foster Care Non-Discrimination Act provides that, “County child welfare departments, group home facilities and foster family agencies have a legal responsibility to provide care, placement and services to foster children, family members, foster parents and service providers without discriminating on the basis of actual or perceived… sexual orientation, gender identity… or HIV status.”

Details: Same-sex couples who were legally married before the passage of Proposition 8 are entitled to equal marriage rights under state law.

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Updated: Tue, December 08, 2009 - 12:00:17