New York Governor David Paterson Signs Law Allowing Unmarried Partners, Including Gays, to Adopt

Unmarried partners, including gay couples, may now adopt children in New York state.

NY 1 reports: Ny

"Unmarried partners, including gay couples, are now free to jointly adopt a child in New York State. Governor David Paterson signed a law making the change on Sunday. The law also puts 'married couple' in the adoption statute, in place of what used to read 'husband and wife.' Bill sponsors say that is meant to ensure children get insurance and other benefits from both adults, as well as lifelong support even if couples split up."

Said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and chief sponsor, to the AP: "Because same sex couples can’t get married and some heterosexual people don’t want to get married, they were not allowed to adopt a non-related child together. If there is a foster child that neither is related to, they had to do it separately. What happens often is one does it, and the other says, ’Yeah, I’ll get to it.’ But it’s a costly endeavor. It’s a separate procedure for both."


  1. BobN says

    It would have been far preferable to recognize out-of-state SSMs than to allow unmarried couples to adopt.

    If you plan on raising a child with someone, you need to legally attach yourself to that person for a whole range of reasons. It’s in the best interests of the children.

  2. Brian says

    I thought we already had this, I’m not certain how it differs from co-adoption.

    But I get a little irked when I see stuff like this, stuff that allows for cases where “some heterosexual people don’t want to get married”. When my company first offered same sex domestic partner health benefits ten years ago, there was one woman on my team that raised such a fuss because she still couldn’t cover her boyfriend of 10 years because they weren’t married. She could get him covered by getting married, but until then, there wasn’t a single thing I could do to get my boyfriend covered. If the government allowed marriage, which resulted in my boyfriend’s coverage, that’s what I would have preferred.

  3. Bryan says

    This wasn’t even on my radar. It somewhat eases the sting of the DADT filibuster, especially since this will affect me personally as a New Yorker who hopes to adopt someday.

  4. says

    “A gay couple wants to adopt a newborn. They are chosen by a birth mother in a state that doesn’t allow lesbian or gay couples to adopt jointly. They fly to that state to be present at the birth and to help welcome their new daughter into the world; the birth mother tearfully presents the baby to them with her blessings and their promise to send her photos and keep her memory alive forever. Their plan is to bring the baby back to their home state and adopt her there, since gay couples are allowed to adopt as couples in their home state, and not in the state where the child was born. Unfortunately, once they return home they discover that even though they have the birth mother’s full consent, and even though their state has no problem with their adoption, they are unable to adopt as a couple because the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) requires the state in which their daughter was born to approve the adoption, and that state’s law expressly prohibits adoption by couples of the same gender.

    Because of complications like these, it is not uncommon for a same-sex couple wishing to adopt a child to have to adopt that child more than once, to assure that the adoption is recognized everywhere. For example, the couple will be able to obtain ICPC approval from the state in which the child was born for one of them to adopt in their home state; and once that adoption is completed, the adoptive parent will then have the authority to consent to her partner adopting their son by way of a “second parent” adoption, assuming this also is permitted in their home state. So by completing two separate adoptions of the same child, they can both become full legal parents.

    Gay adoptions are complex, and laws vary from state to state. It is critical that any same-sex couple looking to adopt a child be represented by a lawyer who is familiar and up-to-date with the latest issues. Here are some tips on how to find such a lawyer:”

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