Romney Fact Check: Wrong on Same-Sex Adoption

by HRC Staff

Romney’s Remarks on Adoption Trivialize Obstacles LGBT People Face in Starting Families


Washington– In another example of Mitt Romney’s inconsistent positions on matters of LGBT equality, the GOP presidential hopeful last week defended his muddled position on same-sex adoption with statistics that are erroneous. In an interview with a North Carolina television station, Romney said:

“I think all states but one allow gay adoption – that’s a position that’s been decided by most of the state legislatures, so I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all of the states but one.”

No state specifically restricts lesbian, gay or bisexual single individuals from adoption (Florida’s ban ended in 2011). Beyond that, Governor Romney’s comments are incorrect. By law, same-sex couples cannot adopt in Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Utah.  By law, second-parent adoption is explicitly legal in just 26 states and the District of Columbia; with joint adoption explicitly legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The truth is that in the vast majority of states, adoption by LGB individuals and families is unclear and left to the discretion of judges, state agencies and adoption agencies who may discriminate. Learn more about state-by-state laws governing same-sex adoption.

“Mitt Romney’s remarks last week regarding same-sex adoption are wrong and, worse, they trivialize the very real and persistent obstacles qualified LGBT individuals and couples face in adopting and starting families,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of kids who desperately need their forever family. LGBT individuals and families are perfectly qualified to provide that loving home. Leading medical, mental health and child welfare organizations have said time and again that sexual orientation and gender identity have absolutely nothing to do with the ability to be a parent to a child in need of a loving home. Governor Romney should clarify his muddled position and embrace adoption by loving and committed gay and lesbian parents.”

Even in those states that allow LGBT individuals to adopt, many still face discrimination. In fact, 29 states have no non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, and 34 states on the basis of gender identity.

This isn’t the first time Romney has sent head-scratching messages on same-sex adoption. In a CNN interview during the 2008 GOP primary, Romney reiterated his belief that every child should have a mother and a father, but pointed out that as governor of Massachusetts, he took no action to prevent LGBT individuals or couples from adopting. This is yet another example of Romney sending different messages to different audiences as he seeks the presidency.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children, supports legislation that allows both partners in a same-sex couple to jointly adopt children.  The American Psychological Association supports initiatives which allow same-sex couples to adopt and co-parent children and supports all the associated legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities which arise from such initiatives

HRC’s All Children – All Families initiative seeks to enhance LGBT cultural competence among child welfare professionals and educate LGBT people about opportunities to become foster or adoptive parents. Learn more about HRC’s work to educate and improve the adoption process for LGBT people.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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