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For same-sex couples, adoption process now easier

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, more than 48,400 same-sex couples live in Florida. As of Jan. 5, 2015, after years of fighting to win the right to marry, many of these couples began taking steps to legally marrying. Along with the right to marry come other rights including those related to the legal adoption of children.

Previous to a 2010 ruling striking down a ban on gay adoption, same-sex couples in Florida were not allowed to adopt children. This included cases of second-parent adoptions where an individual is involved in a committed same-sex relationship with a partner who is the biological parent of a child. Today, thousands of Florida same-sex couples can take comfort in knowing they can adopt a child and gain all of the legal rights, privileges and protections legal parentage provides.

Even though same-sex couples in Florida have legally been able to adopt children since 2010, prior to the legalization of gay marriage, it was a difficult process. One 34-year-old woman who took steps to adopt her partner's biological daughter described the process as being "kind of crazy," and says she and her partner were forced to submit to background checks, fingerprinting, numerous home visits and other requirements before the adoption could be finalized.

Today, rather than embark on the arduous and bureaucratic process known as second-parent adoption, gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt a spouse's child can utilize the same much-simpler step-parent adoption process that heterosexual married couples have enjoyed for years.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "For gay couples in Florida, an easier path to adoption," Anna M. Phillips, Jan. 23, 2015

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