Becoming a Parent in a State That's Outlawed Gay Adoption

Monday, September 13, 2010

To people in Miami, Charles Perez is a familiar face. He used to be a television news anchor, and he’s currently writing a book called “Confessions of a Gay Anchorman.”

But behind Charles’s familiar face and authoritative television presence is a journey to parenthood that has been incredibly difficult, at times. Charles and his husband wanted to adopt a child. But in the state of Florida, it’s still against the law for gay and lesbian people to adopt. In order to adopt, they temporarily moved to Illinois, and then later to Kansas, where they were eventually able to adopt their daughter.

The entire family is now back in Miami. Perez joins us to tell their story, share their struggles, and explain some of the laws and court cases that are still being fought in the state of Florida.


Charles Perez

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [7]

(part 2)
As the others mentioned, legal adoption, as it’s currently practiced in most states in the U.S, is unnecessary theft to the child. A person is only born once, no matter how many times legal custody of them may later change. The historical facts as they actually happened are truthfully documented on their own birth certificate. Many people are not aware that if an adoption later occurs, adoptees’ identities are then permanently, yes I said permanently, sealed away from them without their knowledge or consent. Their true heritage is erased. Names of people who did not give birth to them are entered onto new, forged birth certificates claiming that infertile couples gave “live birth” to that child when they did not. The state then affixes their official seal “verifying” that those lies are the truth. The adoptee is then forever barred from the factual document of their own birth. This practice is wrong regardless of whether gay or straight adults inflict this upon children. It requires adoptees to live a legal fiction & it leaves them vulnerable to many other issues throughout their lives. It appears that gay people are now fighting to be able to do something that straight people should not be able to do to children either, that is take ownership over them in the form of adoption which includes stating 2 gay people gave live birth to a child when they clearly did not. That’s a joke. Seriously, would you want that on your only official birth document?

Legal guardianship (instead of adoption) is a much better option for the children who actually need new homes. Applying for (again, not guaranteeing for anybody) legal guardianship of children in need should be an option for all qualified adults, regardless of their sexual orientation, as long as that need actually exists, i.e. as long as there are children out there who already need new homes. We should never be looking for additional children in order to create adoption situations for adults. The best-qualified homes available should be sought for each child in need, not vice-versa. “Best-qualified” home is independent of any adult’s natural ability or desire to conceive their own children. Also, decrees are already issued in court clarifying who the legal guardians of a child are, so again, tampering with birth certificates is unnecessary & unethical. In summary, this is not a gay rights issue at all, as there is no “right” for anyone to adopt. To assume there IS a right to adopt would imply an equal obligation on someone else’s part to provide that to them.

Sep. 15 2010 10:39 PM

(part 1)
With all due respect to everyone, there is simply no "right" for adults to adopt. It is the child who has a right - and that right is to be raised in a loving, safe home, preferably with his/her own family, or as close to that, whenever possible. Straight children, gay children, healthy or handicapped, children of all ages, religions & races too, they all deserve this above all other considerations.

There is a right for anyone who wants to raise a child to ATTEMPT to create their own child, but there is no GUARANTEE of a child resulting from it, whether the adults are gay or straight. Anytime we give that implication that there is such a guarantee, or that there should be such a guarantee, it leads to the wants of adults trumping over the rights of children. The focus then will stray away from providing for children in favor of providing for adults. Contrary to what they may believe, the fact remains that no adult really NEEDS a child, but children DO NEED homes, food, love, education, medical care, etc. That any child loses everything including his/her entire family & is in need of alternate care arrangements for any reason, that is a tragedy & it indicates there is a bigger problem that is not being addressed first. As a society, we should be striving to prevent the need for adoption in the first place, not expanding the infant shopping market so more will become available for all who cannot create their own & want them. (Gays are not necessarily infertile, so being gay alone does not prevent someone from becoming a parent).

Sep. 15 2010 10:38 PM

Better yet, why not preserve the infant’s family into which she was born and preserve her birth certificate? If gay men want to parent someone else’s child they can sign up to be a legal guardian for a child who truly needs a home. That way, the child’s name, birth certificate and family (with siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles) will be preserved with the added bonus of having legal guardians to take care of her. Adoption destroys the family of birth.

Sep. 15 2010 03:58 PM

When an innocent infant or older child is adopted, the government seizes the birth certificate, seals it, and issues a new, amended birth certificate to replace the original. Gays and lesbians do not realize they are inflicting discrimination and lifelong identity theft onto a child they claim they love by pursuing adoption of someone else’s child. If someone stole their name and parentage, they’d be screaming civil rights abuses all the way to hold up their gayness as proof of discrimination. Adoptees are the scapegoats of everyone’s baby greed. Why not issue an adoption certificate and preserve the adoptee’s birth identity by telling the truth of birth and adoption?

Sep. 15 2010 02:58 PM
billyandme from The Deep South

I am not in favor of any sort of discrimination. That said, adoptees face the sort of discrimination that even gay people and other minorities do not, the right to know where they came from. The right to adopt is not a gay or straight issue. It is an issue of children's rights and the rights of a growing number of adults.

There are other ways for gay men and lesbians to become parents that do not involve children losing access to their original birth certificates or forcing children to live a lie. However, no two men or two women can produce a biological child together, just as many heterosexual couples cannot produce a child together. When infertility or sexual orientation prevent the conception and birth of a child between two people who are in love, that is sad. It is not, however, the duty of any child to fill the void this creates, nor is it the duty of any woman to provide a child for these couples.

Adoption is not a gay issue or an issue of racial or any other type of discrimination. It is an issue of the rights and lives of those most affected by it, adoptees.

Sep. 15 2010 11:59 AM
Gaye Tannenbaum from Uruguay

Like Mara, I am also against discrimination in any form. There are still far too many children who are truly in need of a home.

That being said, I am also appalled by the legal fiction of amended "birth" certificates. Once upon a time, adoptive parents could reasonably expect that the amended "birth" certificate would not raise any questions, even from the individual whose "birth" certificate it was.

Then the fiction started getting out of hand...
Dates and places of birth were changed. Black and mixed race babies were labeled "white" because the adoptive parents were white.

Now, we have "birth" certificates with two fathers, or two mothers, or one father but no mother...

Is it any wonder that US Passport Services and many other agencies won't accept most amended "birth" certificates?

Sep. 15 2010 05:07 AM
Mara from Trinidad, CA

I am an adopted adult.

I don't think anyone should be discriminated against whether it be marriage, adoption, etc.

But, it kills me how gay/lesbian couples participate in the discrimination of their adopted children by allowing the birth certificates of their adopted children to be sealed and amended.

Sep. 14 2010 01:43 PM

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