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by Jessica Carreras
On April 22, House Bill 4131, which would extend full adoption rights to unmarried couples, passed the House Judiciary Committee, and is poised to go to vote in the House of Representatives.
The bill would allow unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to petition to adopt a child under both parents. Currently, LGBT individuals may adopt children in Michigan, but only one person in the relationship is allowed to have legal recognition as that child’s parent.
The second-parent adoption bill was introduced in the last legislative session, but died in the House in July and could not be won in the Senate. Supporters of the bill, namely the Coalition for Adoption Rights Eqality, were disappointed.
However, the measure was reintroduced in February of this year, headed by Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith.
The bill was read and remained in the Judiciary Committee until last Wednesday. All present Democrats in the committee voted yes, while all Republicans voted no. Supporters included Reps. Mark S. Meadows, Ellen Cogen Lipton, Marc Corriveau, Bettie Cook Scott, Lisa Brown, Bob Constan, Andy Coulouris, Andrew J. Kandrevas and Rebekah Warren.
“We had eloquent, intelligent, and dynamic speakers present testimony along with many families there showing their support,” CARE President Beverly Davidson wrote in a statement. “A special thanks goes out to Rep. Mark Meadows, chair of the committee, Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, sponsor of the bill, and to Rep. Rebekah Warren for her unyielding support and assistance in championing second parent adoption.”
Davidson encouraged supporters to contact their legislators in support of the bill, and encourage friends and family members to do the same.
Look for updates on this issue in Between The Lines, and on CARE’s Web site at http://www.secondparentadoption.org.