By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
ANN ARBOR – Right-wing extremists would like nothing better than for LGBT-headed families to remain in the closet. Unfortunately, doing so makes it easier for extremists to win the day on bills that could protect the children of LGBT parents. That’s why the Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality has teamed up with UofM Ann Arbor social work students to create a booklet of family stories to share with Michigan’s legislators.
The goal of the booklet is to encourage legislators to pass HB 5399, Democratic state Representative Paul Condino’s bill that would protect children by allowing both parents, if unmarried, to legally adopt them.
According to CARE, “In Michigan, some children have one parent who is not legally recognized. Children need the legal recognition of parent-child relationships regardless of their parents’ marital status or sexual orientation. Second parent adoption secures this legal recognition.”
Allowing second parent adoption would benefit children through the ability of both parents to provide health insurance, inheritance rights, Social Security benefits, and more.
Unmarried parents of children are encouraged to send their personal testimony and a photograph for the booklet, which will be used to educate legislators and the public on the necessity of inclusive second parent adoption policies. While personal, in-depth testimony is encouraged, names will be changed on request.
Participating families will need to sign a consent form in order to be included.
According to CARE President Bev Davidson, the number of copies to be printed, “depends on how many families we get to participate, so there’s enough information to mass produce,” the booklet.
Plans for the booklet include sending them to high-profile legislators and having copies available for Family Lobby Day on April 18. “We’d like to have copies available for people to take when they go see their legislators,” said Davidson.
For more information and to obtain a consent form email Sara Crider at [email protected] or call Beverly Davidson, LMSW, president of CARE, at 734-646-8150. For more information or to download a consent form visit CARE’s web site at www.secondparentadoption.org.
For more information about second-parent adoption and Representative Condino’s bill see “Representative Condino introduces second parent adoption bill,” online at www.pridesource.com.
Contact your state Senator and Representative and encourage them to protect children by supporting HB 5399. To get contact information for your state Senator and Representative call the Michigan State House Clerk’s office at 517-373-0135 or visit http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp