While Tennessee Republican representative Diane Black has garnered attention for her vocal support for adoption, LGBTQIA couples and individuals seeking to adopt have not felt that same level of support. Black has spoken about adoption on Twitter as well as in Congress since 2015. However, prior to her appearance on the national political scene, she proposed a bill in Tennessee in 2005 that would bar “homosexuals from adopting”.
While many politicians have changed their views on the rights of LGBTQIA people over the years, with a massive increase in support for gay marriage, for example, recent statements indicate that Black has not changed her perspective on adoption. In one debate, she spoke about the value of children having a mother and a father, a language choice that is often made specifically to distinguish same-sex couples. It also echoed her own sentiments expressed in the state legislature in 2005, when she said that the “value of the family” was weakened when children were placed with same-sex families.
Her bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005 and never passed beyond that point. The bill sought to bar the adoption of children in state custody by anyone who engages in “sexual contact involving another person of the same gender”, regardless of whether a same-sex couple was specifically seeking the adoption. LGBTQIA advocates noted that Black’s bill drew widespread outrage when it was introduced, with people coming forward to speak out against it.
There are a number of specific issues that LGBTQIA couples may face when pursuing adoption, especially through a state system. These can include discrimination as well as the complexities of dealing with a system that can be unclear about the rights of both same-sex parents. An adoption lawyer can help families seeking to adopt to develop agreements that protect the best interests of the child and the family.