Where is Gay Adoption Legal?

By Ramon Johnson, About.com

Updated: November 5, 2008

In the U.S., gay adoption laws vary from state to state. Here are the different types of adoption and a state-by-state index of adoption laws:

Types of Adoption/Guardianship:

 

  • Single (Individual) Adoption
    Individual adoption is the traditional type of adoption where an unmarried person seeks to adopt a child that has been put for adoption by the birth parent(s) or by the State.
  • Joint Adoption
    In a joint adoption an unmarried couple petitions the court to adopt a child that has been put for adoption by the birth parent(s) or by the State.
  • Second-parent Adoption
    This type of adoption involves one parent who already has legal rights of the child and a second parent that is petitioning for joint rights. The initial parent does not give up parental rights. Usually, gay couples in states that do not allow joint same-sex adoption choose this option.
  • Step-parent (Domestic Partner) Adoption
    When a child is already living with both same-sex parents, step-parent or domestic partner adoption is filed.
  • Guardianship
    Where gay adoption is not legal, parents can protect their families by applying for guardianship. However, guardianship does not provide the same legal rights as adoption.
  • Foster Care vs. Adoption
    Foster care differs from adoption in a few ways. A foster parent assumes care responsibility for the foster child, but the State maintains all legal guardianship of the child. Adoption transfers legal responsibility and care over to the adopting parents.

Gay Adoption State-by-State

  • Alabama
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Alaska
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Arizona
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Arkansas
    Arkansas Act One prohibits unmarried couples (both same sex and opposite sex) from adopting or fostering children. More on Act One
  • California
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Colorado
    Permits same-sex couple adoption. Also allows grandparents and other individuals helping raise the child to adopt.
  • Connecticut
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Delaware
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • District of Columbia
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Florida
    Prohibits single and joint gay adoption.
  • Georgia
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Hawaii
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Idaho
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Illinois
    Permits single GLBT and couples adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Indiana
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Iowa
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Kansas
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Kentucky
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Louisiana
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Maine
    Permits single GLBT adoption. On August 30, 2007 the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously in their favor on grounds that prohibiting the adoption would be counter to Maine's Adoption Act. (read more)
  • Maryland
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint gay adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Massachusetts
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Michigan
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Prohibits joint adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Minnesota
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint gay adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Mississippi
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Prohibits joint adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Missouri
    Single GLBT and joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Montana
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Nebraska
    Single GLBT adoption unclear. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Prohibits second-parent adoption.
  • Nevada
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • New Hampshire
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Prohibits joint adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • New Jersey
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • New Mexico
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • New York
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed
  • North Carolina
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • North Dakota
    Single GLBT and joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Ohio
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption not allowed.
  • Oklahoma
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Oregon
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Pennsylvania
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Rhode Island
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • South Carolina
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • South Dakota
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Tennessee
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Texas
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption allowed in some areas.
  • Utah
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption prohibited. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Vermont
    Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
  • Virginia
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Washington
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption in some areas.
  • West Virginia
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
  • Wisconsin
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption prohibited.
  • Wyoming
    Permits single GLBT adoption. Joint adoption unclear. Second-parent adoption unclear.

 http://gaylife.about.com/od/gayparentingadoption/a/gaycoupleadopt.htm

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