Press Room

May 04, 2004

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HRC Condemns Enactment of Oklahoma Adoption Ban

'A law that would take children away from their non-biological parents is shameful and wrong,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign condemned the enactment yesterday of a discriminatory anti-family measure in Oklahoma that would prohibit recognition of adoptions by same-sex couples from out of state. The law became effective upon Democratic Gov. Brad Henry's signature on May 4.

"A law that would take children away from their non-biological parents is shameful and wrong," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "This law means that if I set foot in Oklahoma with my sons, I could lose any legal ties to them. That does nothing to serve the best interests of any family."

On April 12, Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, offered the measure (House Bill 1821) as an amendment to another bill. The Senate passed the measure by a 44-0 vote on April 12 and the House by a 93-4 vote on April 26.

H.B. 1821 requires the state, its agencies and the courts of Oklahoma to not recognize adoptions from other jurisdictions by same-sex couples. The effects of this bill are potentially harmful to same-sex couples who are both legal parents of their children and move to or travel through Oklahoma. The non-biological parent(s) may be denied access to their children in the hospital or barred from making medical decisions for them.

Leading child welfare groups have issued position statements in favor of adoption by same-sex couples and/or supporting second-parent adoption for same-sex couples and their children. Among them: American Psychological Association, Child Welfare League of America, American Bar Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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