By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
JACKSON – During their October meeting, the Jackson Human Relations Commission approved a resolution in favor of House Bill 5399, State Representative Paul Condino’s bill that would legalize second-parent adoption in Michigan. A press release announcing the resolution was sent out following the Commission’s November meeting.
If passed by the Michigan legislature, the bill would protect children by establishing a legal relationship between them and both parents raising them, regardless of whether the parents are legally married. (For more on HB 5399 see “Representative Condino introduces second parent adoption bill” online at www.pridesource.com)
The resolution was almost a year in the making, according to Charles Meade, secretary of PFLAG Jackson and a member of the Human Relations Commission.
“A number of the individuals on the commission were not aware that this bill would affect people in our own local community,” Meade said in an email to BTL. “In that sense, the commissioners then became stakeholders in the outcome on this piece of legislation.”
Meade said the resolution makes a strong statement given that the city of Jackson has strong Republican leanings.
“Jackson is home of the Republican Party and also has two Republican House Legislators,” Meade wrote. “I believe it important that these legislators know there is general support for the bill in the community.”
The Jackson resolution reads in part, “It is in the best interests of children socially, economically and emotionally to legally recognize the relationships between children and those persons the child identifies as parents or those serving a parental role … It is in the interest of the State of Michigan and will relieve the burden on the public welfare system to allow two people to accept the responsibilities of a child’s welfare, medical care, education, housing and basic needs, and to increase the number of prospective parents for the 17,240 of children currently in the foster system.”
Lorraine Hampton, president of PFLAG Jackson, said of the resolution, “I’m delighted that they have taken this stand because I think that this is about families and children, and I am pleased that they can … take a public stand to protect families.”
Meade added, “In this day and age, we have step-parents, single parents, grandmothers, grandfathers, foster parents who adopt, children of one race being adopted by individuals from another race. The modern sense of what it means to be a family is changing.”