In May, 2014, a federal judge ruled that Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, making it the 19th state in the U.S. to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. The recognition of equality in the realm of marriage is wonderful for the many same sex-couples in the state, including the plaintiffs who were at the forefront of the debate.
Now that the door to marriage has been opened in Pennsylvania to same-sex couples, there are a plethora of other issues that have presented themselves as well. One such matter in question is the topic of same-sex adoption and what it will look like for couples interested in adopting a child in Pennsylvania.
Same-Sex Adoption Laws in PA
Under Pennsylvania Adoption Law Title 23, Statute 2312, any individual, including those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender may petition to adopt a child in Pennsylvania. While the law is not written to grant same-sex couples specifically the right to adopt a child, there is no specific prohibition. Additionally, the Supreme Court has ruled that a same-sex co-parent can petition to adopt his or her partner’s child.
Types of Adoption in Pennsylvania
Adoptions typically fall into one of four categories, and if you are a same-sex couple in the state of Pennsylvania who plans to adopt, understanding the different types of adoption available to you is important.
Typically, an adoption will be one of the following types:
- private adoption;
- agency adoption;
- interstate adoption; or
- international adoption.
Within each of these types of adoptions, the couple will have the option of adopting a child who already lives in foster care, adopting by first fostering a child, adopting an infant, and having a closed or open adoption. In all cases, a couple who wishes to adopt a child will have to meet state and federal regulations concerning adoption and may have to meet other requirements.
Retain an Adoption Lawyer
Adopting a child can be a long and complicated process, including for same-sex couples. A lawyer can help you understand the type of adoption you can pursue; what the birth parents’ rights are; how you can prepare for an adoption agent to enter your home; how to secure information about the child to be adopted, including health records; and more.
At ARM Lawyers, we are committed to providing help to families who wish to adopt, regardless of their sexual identity. If you are ready to start the adoption process or have questions about same-sex adoption in Pennsylvania, call us today at 570-257-4509 (Stroudsburg), 484-765-8140 (Palmerton) or 610-849-2788 (Bethlehem).