Utah Case Highlights Struggle for Same-Sex Adoptive Parents

When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples this summer, the decision provided a measure of hope for would-be adoptive parents. For many years, same-sex couples looking to adopt a child faced significant obstacles from state and private adoption agencies, as well as legal barriers in some cases. Despite advancements, however, it seems that the struggle is far from over, as a Utah judge demonstrated very clearly this week.

Child Taken Away

In Carbon County, Utah, earlier this week, a juvenile court judge ordered the removal of a 1-year-old child from the foster care of a lesbian couple licensed by the state’s Division of Child and Family Services. The child had been in the couple’s care since August and child welfare officials have reported no concerns over the child’s health or well-being. The couple was planning to formally adopt the child, with the approval of the child’s biological mother, and was shocked at the judge’s decision.

The foster parents have expressed concerns that the ruling was motivated by religious beliefs. According to reports, however, the judge relied on non-specific research that indicated that kids placed with same-sex couples do not fare as well as those placed with heterosexual foster parents. When pressed, the judge refused to disclose the source of the research, the couple claimed. A court spokesperson and a spokesperson for the Utah child welfare division both have confirmed that the ruling was made based on the couple’s sexual orientation. The parents and attorneys for the agency plan to review the ruling and explore options for challenging it.

Same-Sex Adoption in Illinois

Although the laws regarding adoption are similar throughout the country, Illinois has traditionally been much more liberal than Utah. Here in this state, any reputable adult of either sex may adopt a child. If the person is married—and same-sex marriage has been recognized in Illinois for more than a year—the only requirement is that the person’s spouse will also be a party to the adoption. As far back as 2011, the state has required adoption agencies to consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents. At every step of the process, the court and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are expected by law to keep the child’s well-being as the highest priority.

Assistance for Your Adoption

The adoption process for any would-be parents is complex and requires the services of a qualified legal professional. For same-sex couples, the challenges can often be magnified. If you are considering adoption in Illinois, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. We will help you throughout the proceedings and ensure that your rights under the law are not compromised in any way. Call 708-518-8200 for your free consultation today.