Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Colorado for almost five years, and nationwide since 2015, and in many ways married same-sex couples are fully integrated into all systems of family law. However, there is one area where same-sex couples face very different legal issues than most of their heterosexual friends: adoption.
According to research from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, about 20% of same-sex couples are raising adopted children, compared to just 3% of heterosexual couples. Researchers found 2.9% of same-sex couples were raising foster children, compared to just 0.4% of heterosexual couples.
A recent survey by the Family Equality Council found that 68% of young people in the LGBTQ community are considering adoption or becoming foster parents, and so they face legal issues that a majority of heterosexual couples will not.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional, it did not specifically outline the rights of same-sex couples in adoption or foster parenting. Some lawmakers have tried to limit parenting rights for these couples and individuals.
Colorado law provides relatively strong protections for same-sex couples in adoption and foster parenting, but couples often find trouble along the way. Sometimes, private adoption agencies are resistant to helping same-sex couples, and sometimes the problem is harder to pin down.
Adopting or fostering a child is an important, fulfilling, challenging and fulfilling experience, but it is also a legal process. It is important for same-sex couples to seek out help from a family attorney who can advise them on their rights and legal options.