Remove Statutory Barriers to LGBT Adoption in Arizona

Petition Closed

Remove Statutory Barriers to LGBT Adoption in Arizona

This petition had 25,132 supporters

EQAZ started this petition to Arizona State Senator Andy Biggs and

As LGBT parents who have adopted children from Arizona’s foster care system, we have experienced firsthand some of the barriers our state’s adoption law has posed as a result of language giving preference to ‘married husband and wife,’ with other families considered ‘lower’ on the list. Because of our experiences and desire to prevent children from enduring unnecessary trauma and harm, we ask you to vote in favor of AZ legislative minority leadership's amendment.

Since the Ninth Circuit Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Arizona, Governor Ducey has stated “all loving families” should be able to adopt, gay and heterosexual alike. In April 2015, the governor ordered the Department of Child Safety (DCS) grant foster care licenses and adoption for same-sex couples. However, his order does not, and cannot, extend to Arizona courts, which must certify couples for joint adoption. Despite the Governor Ducey’s mandate and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples should be treated the same as opposite-sex couples in all respects, our law as currently written presents the opportunity, whether intentionally or mistakenly, for state workers and judges to enforce or make decisions that align with this preferred order of placement in the adoption law.

The intent of the preferential language is to ensure the best interest of a child is given priority when considering placement. However, as was the case with our family, children in Arizona are still being uprooted from same-sex households when opposite-sex households become available, disturbing the child’s stability and relationship development. As a result, LGBT families end up serving as temporary foster homes until the state finds a heterosexual family deemed “most qualified.”

In the end, it is the children in our state care who are being hurt most. According to a study by the University of California’s Center for Human Services, children in the child welfare system who experience multiple moves are at risk for negative outcomes in academic achievement, socio-emotional health, developing insecure attachments, and distress due to the instability and uncertainty that comes with not having a stable family environment.  

Out-of-home placement may provide children with physical safety and opportunities to develop nurturing relationships with adults, but its abrupt and indefinite nature may also place additional burdens on already vulnerable children. One way of lessening the occurrence of children’s’ displacements is to remove the preferential language in the adoption law in order to improve child well-being outcomes and to facilitate permanent, long-lasting placements with forever families. As adoptive parents, we encourage you to stand with us and Arizona’s children, and to vote in favor of this amendment to help eliminate unnecessary harm to our children.  

Sincerely,

Kevin & David Patterson - Parents of Cayden and Cayla

Petition Closed

This petition had 25,132 supporters