In March 2000, I adopted my son, Yeager. Currently, my partner and I are in the process of having a second child. That child will not share the same rights as Yeager. Not even close.
In May 2000, the Utah Legislature passed an amendment to Utah's adoption statute that discriminates against the children of unmarried parents, regardless of their sexual orientation. With one amendment, children lost the right to be legally raised by two loving parents. These changes also prohibited any of the hundreds of children languishing in Utah's foster care system from being placed with such families.
Up until May 2000, all Utah couples including my partner and I could adopt, provided they met the rigorous standards contained in Utah adoption law. Those standards included a home investigation, a criminal background check and an interview with a judge. The judge would then determine if the adoption was in the child's best interest. Children were able to receive Social Security, death and disability benefits, health insurance, inheritance and other rights from the adopting parent. In addition, many kids who were in Utah's foster care system were placed for adoption with new, loving and stable parents who happened to be gay.
After May 2000, that all came to an end. The Utah Legislature determined that there is never a situation in which it is in the child's best interest to be adopted by an unmarried couple. The ban was the Utah Legislature's way of making a political statement against gays and lesbians. This law does nothing but hurt my children and their future.
As a result of the ban, nonbiological parents cannot adopt the children they are raising in their own homes. These children could be ripped from the one home they know if their biological or legal parent dies or splits with the nonbiological parent. Four such cases happened last year in Utah where a child was not allowed to have contact with one of its parents. And Utah law supported it. In addition, the ideal situation for any child in Utah should be that the child has the opportunity to be raised by two legal parents in a stable, loving and willing family.
Discrimination based on myths against families like mine continues, despite support from numerous organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and the North American Council on Adoptable Children.
Gay parents have long provided loving, secure homes for their children, without the recognition of the law to bolster them.Please do not allow ignorance to guide our children's future.
Cristy Gleave lives in Salt Lake City.