Like many, many Americans, I was thrilled when the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide. As a heterosexual, Hindu, Indian-American, I do not take my rights for granted, and I am glad to see the growth of justice for ALL. As a pediatrician, I was particularly glad to see today's majority opinion express support for children living with same-sex parents: "without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser." With gay marriage now being legal across America, we must make it easier for same-sex parents to adopt children.
Currently, only 7 states (California, Oregon, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) explicitly protect LGBT foster parents from discrimination by adoption agencies. Michigan recently moved in the wrong direction, allowing its private adoption agencies to deny LGBT parents from adopting children if their "religious principles" are violated. The misuse of faith to veil bigotry does not deserve state protection, especially when the well-being of children are at stake. Every child has a right to a loving home where he/she is wanted and where his/her parents support each other. When states like Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Nebraska create hurdles for same-sex parents to adopt, they are violating the rights of children to be healthy and happy.
I am not the only health care professional who trusts LGBT parents to bring up children. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and many others all concur: LGBT parents are as capable as heterosexual parents at raising healthy children. Furthermore, there is a huge need for loving parents: in 2013, there were over 400,000 children in foster care. If these children "age out" of the foster care system, they are at increased risks for homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration.
Legalizing gay adoption is not the cure-all for the many problems in the American foster care system. However, it is an unacceptable cruelty to deny loving, capable parents and needy children from becoming a family. There is nothing moral about abandoning children to a bleak future. Rather than protecting the so-called religious principles of a few bigots, America needs to stand up for its character and values. Tell your members of Congress, your governors, and your state legislatures: now that gay marriage has been legalized, take all the necessary steps to legalize gay adoption and give thousands of children the right to a safe, healthy, and happy family.