Adoption & Parenting Issues
for Lesbians, Gay Men, & Bisexuals
Compiled by C M Donald, for the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in OntarioOctober 1989 - Oct 2003
Preliminary note: probably the most common situation where lesbians, gays, or bisexuals seek adoption is where two women or two men are in a relationship, one of them has children, and theother wishes to adopt his/her partner's children in order to have parental rights in law. As mattersstand, a child losing her/his birth mother has no legal relationship to the surviving parent.Studies show that there is no significant differences between children of lesbian and gay parentsand those of heterosexual parents. The are no more likely to be molested, show difficulties ingender identity, or grow up gay nor are they generally stigmatized by their parents' orientation.Unless specified, references are to Canada.Oct 1989 Denmark passes a registered partnership law which grants same-sex couples allmarriage rights except the right to a church wedding and the right to adopt. Nov 1989 Massachusetts becomes the second state in the US (after Wisconsin, 1982) to pass a gay rights bill outlawing discrimination in employment, housing, creditand public accommodation (though senators forced an amendment allowingreligious institutions to ban gay marriage and foster parenting).Feb 1990 This year for the first time, the US census will ask how many people live with anunmarried partner. Needless to say, the promotion makes no mention of lesbiansor gay men.Oct 1990 UK: For the first time, a local government, Newcastle City Council, has publiclyurged that a lesbian couple be permitted to adopt a child. Home secretary DavidWaddington says he opposes permitting lesbians and gay men to adopt children.The final decision rests with the courts.Dec 1990 Ontario amends Employment Standards Act with respect to pregnancy and parental leave, expands definition of parent to include lesbian and gay parents: "a person who is in a relationship of some permanence with a parent of a child andwho intends to treat the child as his or her own."March 1991 US: Judge Ignatius Lester rules that the 1977 statewide ruling debarring allhomosexuals from adopting children is in violation of the privacy and equal protection rights of lesbians and gay men. The ruling applies only to MonroeCounty, Florida, but can be cited statewide as a precedent.March 1991 Ontario NDP passes pro-gay resolution at its convention, recognizing "therelationships and families of lesbians and gay men ... [as] equal and equivalent tothe families and relationships of heterosexual couples," promising changes to theOHRCode, other laws, and relevant policies etc in accordance, and committingitself "to vigorously support and advance the principles of this resolution in areasof federal jurisdiction."