State-by-State list of proposed legislation and litigation relating to gay adoptions and custody cases, gay marriage, and gay employment issues


I am beginning this file effective in Feb 2005. Logically these entries belong at Consolidated Footnote file for DADT Chapter 5 but that running footnote file (forDo Ask, Do Tell (Book)Chapter 5) is getting very large.


Introductory Notes:


There is an alarming story by Andrea Stone in USA Today, Feb. 20, 2006, that up to sixteen states are now considering laws prohibiting some combination of gay adoptions and gay foster parenting. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Child Welfare League of America  (CWLA) both cite studies that children with GLBT parents do as well as those with straight parents. Concerned Women of America and other groups say that this is not true. About half a million children are in foster care, according to the North American Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul, MN. Of those, about 120,000 are available for adoption, but only about 50,000 find permanent homes each year. Unlike many other states, Minnesota aggressively promotes adoption and foster care by singles, even on bus stop ads.  (I lived there from 1997-2003 and saw these all the time.) In Florida, actress Rosie O'Donnell care for a child that had been in thirty foster homes (gay adoption but not foster care is illegal in Florida). Currently, Arkansas, Missouri, and Nebraska appear to prohibit gays from becoming foster parents, but there was a recent state court ruling in Missouri which could overturn this.


The newspaper link is  The visitor may have register with the paper and purchase the content.


The Washington Blade, in a story by Dyana Bagby on Feb. 25, 2006, indicates that Ohio is the only state with an active bill considering anti-gay adoption bans. The reference is


Human Rights Campaign links:


Foster parents:


Here is the HRC link on gay and lesbian adoption.


Visitors can keep track of these issues by state in more detail at the Human Rights Campaign website, navigated from the home page .


Here is QRD's link: 

According to this article, the following 22 states have same-sex marriage bans: AK, AZ, AR, DE, GA, ID, IL, KS, ME, MS, MI, MO, MT, NC, ND, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA). The following 17 states have bills proposing bans: (CA, CO, CT, FL, HI,
IN, LA, MN, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OR, TX, VT, WA, WI).  Florida, Colorado, and Indiana have marriage bans awaiting action by the Governor.


These states allow civil unions or domestic partnerships: California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.  (Sept. 19, 2007, the Washington Post.)


5 states (IL, MD, NE, RI, WA), pro-marriage bills were introduced. Only those in Illinois and Washington remain alive.

States that ban adoption and foster parenting: FL, NH (overturned??); states with recent bills banning adoption and/or foster parenting: GA, KY, MS, MO (overturned?), SC, TN, OH, VA  (note the matchup with states trying to provoke a confrontation with Roe v. Wade at ; the matchup is interesting) Dahlia Lithwick also provides some analysis "Why Courts Are Adopting Gay Parenting" in The Washington Post, March 12, 2006, p B2, at "Why the Rules about Gay Parenting Under Changing Under Your Nose."


According to the Blade article (above) and (*): the following states introduced bills to ban gay adoption in 2005, and all failed:














The USA Today story would suggest that these bills could return or could be introduced in a number of other states.


According to Slate, these states ban gay adoption in practice:




North Dakota




and these states prohibit gays from serving even as foster parents:










Many of the links on this page may expire. Most newspapers will make their archived stories available to paid subscribers or to the public for per-item small purchase fees.




HB 2710 would give same-sex couples the right to adopt, name life insurance beneficiaries and make hospital and funeral arrangements, leave property to a partner (I’m surprised that the last three wouldn’t be possible as an individual matter anyway without legislation) and buy homes more easily as couples. AZ forces an initiative for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, a vote in 2006.


2006 vote -- amendment -- marriage definition, prevent gay civil unions.






Dec 2004


Dec. 29, 2004.  In Arkansas, Pulaski County circuit Judge Timothy Fox ruled that Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board cannot forbid the placing of a child in a foster home merely because the home has a gay household member, and that furthermore the Board was not entitled to pass its own rules based on its view of “public morality.” One wonders what kind of pseudo due process could have established that a particular home has a gay household member. Go to


However, Arkansas law apparently forbids placing foster children in homes inhabited by non-legally married couples. (The Washington Times, June 16, 2006, p. A8.




March 2005


San Francisco Superior Court Judge rules that California’s law banning same-sex marriage is an unconstitutional denial of equal protection without rational basis.


June 30, 2005: The California state supreme court has ruled that the state’s domestic partnership law, which grants many benefits to same-sex couples, does not violated the voter-approved law against “gay marriage.”


September 5, 2005. The California state assembly passes a bill (the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act) casting marriage as a commitment between “two (adult) persons.” In 1948 California had been one of the fist states to repeal laws against miscegenation, and it had repealed sodomy laws in 1976, although it had to beat back the Briggs initiative (banning gays from public school teaching) in 1978.  Governor Schwarzenegger says he will veto the bill.


The California Supreme Court, in December 2006, agreed to hear an appeal of this law, based on equal protection.




is considering a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage but not domestic partnerships.  


Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a 
marriage in this state


This language does not prohibit civil unions or domestic partnerships, unlike Virginia, which appears to be trying to prohibit them.  


There is a bill in early 2006 in the Colorado legislature that would allow same-sex couples hospital visitation, inheritance without a will, and some employment domestic partner benefits, introduced by Tom Plant. This would go to the voters as a referendum.


2006 vote: amendment -- marriage definition PASSED; separate vote for domestic partner rights DEFEATED




“Last week, the state's Joint Judiciary Committee voted 25-13 in favor of a bill that would give gay couples the almost all of the same state rights as married heterosexuals. Like Vermont's civil union legislation, Connecticut's will fall short of full marriage, as in Massachusetts, that would enjoy a much stronger chance of recognition in other states.:  Joel Crea, The Washington Blade, March 4, 2005.


In mid-April 2005 it appeared that both the Connecticut House and Senate would pass a civil union bill, and that a Republican governor would sign it. This is apparently the first civil union state measure that did not start with court action.




April, 2005, DC announced that it would recognized gay marriages from other states in processing city income tax returns, with some discretion. This does run the risk of antagonizing some in Congress, and home rule has long been an issue for the nation’s capital. On  May 3, 2005, the District relented on this, saying that it can only allow joint returns for couples who could file joint federal returns legally, which under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act excludes gay couples.




Feb. 2005


PlanetOut Network
February 18, 2005

”Amendment to Fla. gay adoption ban filed”

by Christopher Curtis

A Florida lawmaker filed legislation Thursday to amend the state's 1977 law that bans gays and lesbians from adopting. State Sen. Nan Rich has proposed that judges could allow adoptions if they conclude a permanent placement with a gay or lesbian foster
parent is more important to a child's development than maintaining a temporary placement.

Sen. Rich told the Associated Press the plan is in the best interests of children who have long-standing relationships with their gay foster parents.

But, she adds, her legislation is not a complete repeal of the ban, either. It applies only to "long-standing relationships and tries to protect those children so that they can remain in a permanent placement where they have shared a loving, stable home."


also go to




July 5, 2006 the state supreme court reinstituted its constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman.




2006 -- amendment --  marriage definition, prevent gay civil unions PASSED




Feb 2005


Associated Press
February 18, 2005


“A lesbian who split with her partner after adopting the woman's biological children must pay child support, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.” "Whether a parent is a man or a woman, homosexual or heterosexual, or adoptive or biological, in assuming that role, a person also assumes certain responsibilities, obligations, and duties," Judge John G. Baker wrote in the 22-page ruling.




District court overrules same-sex marriage ban, ruling is appealed.  Blogger entry.




On Nov. 8, 2005 Maine voters turned down a referendum that would have repealed Maine’s law protecting GLBT people from discrimination, by percentages of 57 to 43.




The legislature and governor Ehrlich debate the Medical Decision Making Act of 2005, allowing non-married couples to register with the state, following laws in California, Hawaii, and other states. On May 20, 2005 Gov. Ehrlich (Rep) vetoed this over the language “life partner”.


Sept. 18, 2007: state supreme court upholds same-sex marriage ban. Blogger entry.




While there are various initiatives to place a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in front of voters, one interesting bill would allow recognition of all same-sex marriages through a specific end date. There is also a fight over marriages from out-of-state visitors. See 


The state legislature, in Sept 2005, defeated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and establish civil unions.


On March 29, 2006 the state supreme court upheld a 1913 law prohibiting couples from coming to Massachusetts to perform marriages that would not have been valid in their home states.


According to Crary (below) 5.9 to 16.7% of gays and lesbians in Massachusetts have married. (4/2006)


There was a vote Jan 2 2007 to place the anti-gay-marriage measure (going forward only) on the ballot for 2008. Details on the Nov 11 entry on this blog.




Amendment bans gay marriage, and domestic partnership benefits for state employees.


Blogger entry




A state circuit court ruled in favor of a lesbian who had been prevented from becoming a foster parent (Feb 2006).


The "Show Me" state was forced in court to lift its ban against gay foster parents.




April 26, 2007


Legislature set to pass a civil union bill, which Gov. John Lynch will sign.  Story by Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post,




June 14, 2005


New Jersey Appeals Court Rules 2-1 Against Marriage Equality for Same-Sex
Couples, Moving Lambda Legal's Case to State Supreme Court for Final Ruling.


In Maryland, Judge M. Brooke Murdock (Baltimore) ruled that the state law banning gay marriage is discriminatory and cannot withstand constitutional challenge, on Jan. 20, 2006.


The state supreme court ruled on Oct 26, 2006, that same-sex couples must have the same rights. Here is my blogspot link.




July 5: 2006: A state supreme court rules that state law limits marriage to one man and one woman, and the legislature would have to change this.





There is ongoing litigation challenging state laws limiting marriage to a man and woman. For details as of 2/2006:


February 22, 2006 
"The Essence of Marriage and Equality: The New Jersey Supreme Court Considers 
Same-Sex Marriage" 


Supreme Court rules in October 2006 that same-sex couples must have same rights, state given 180 days to legislate but does not have to use the word "marriage."


Blogspot discussion.




In New York, state appeals court judge Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that New York’s refusal to honor gay marriage is unconstitutional, in early 2005, opening the door to New York City honoring license applications; the state appealed.




There is a bill in 2006 to prohibit adoption by homosexuals. Only heterosexual couples or singles would be able to adopt. If the bill fails, it may go to referendum. Andrea Stone, USA Today, Feb. 21, 2006




April, 2005: The state supreme court invalidates same-sex marriage licenses granted in one county.  




2006 vote -- amendment, marriage def. and prevent gay civil unions   PASSED




2006 vote -- amendment, marriage def and prevent gay civil unions PASSED




2006 vote - amendment, marriage def   PASSED




April, 2005: Rep. Robert Talton of Pasadena, TX proposes an amendment to another Texas childcare law requiring Child Protective Services to ask prospective parents if they are homosexual or bisexual (“must ask, must tell”). This would also be asked of current foster parents. No other state has such a law now (see Arkansas, above). Jeffrey Glibert, “Bill to Ban Gays as foster parents blasted,” The Houston Chronicle, April 21, 2005. (You may need a paid subscription to view.)  It was reported shortly that some Texas Republicans were distancing themselves from the proposal.


The Texas governor signed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage around June 13, 2005.


On Nov. 8, 2005 voters in Texas approved by referendum a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and “any other form of legal recognition for same-sex couples.” Texas is the 18th state to approve a state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage. It is not clear what affect this would have on informal domestic agreements.




Has recognized civil unions since the late 1990s.




Now there is a new storm (January 2005) in Virginia:

What I think could happen is that such a law would revert back to the federal definition of "homosexual" in the 1993 law for the military.  This is important!


Proposal would ban gays from adopting children

By Christina Bellantoni




 RICHMOND - Lawmakers will consider a bill that would forbid homosexuals from adopting children.
     Delegate Richard H. Black has proposed a bill that would add new criteria for adoption reports filed with the circuit court. The Loudoun County Republican's bill amends the state's adoption law by adding a phrase that states: "No person under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual."

Again, this is a “must ask, must tell” law (or a “do ask do tell” law).

Now, imagine, as a thought experiment at least, a second law that requires that teachers (over a certain age) of students below a certain age or of special needs students or assistants who must give personal care have been parents themselves. Imagine also a law that says that an attendant who gives personal care to mentally impaired persons not be homosexual in the legal 1993 definition, or have stated in a public forum that he or she is. This can be a very slippery slope indeed!

"While considering this bill, the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee voted to significantly weaken the measure’s language, making sexual orientation and “homosexual activity” only one factor in the overall evaluation of a candidate."  This language is as follows: "this bill will now directs that the investigative report presented by the adoption agency to a judge prior to entry of an order of adoption include information on whether the petitioner is known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity or is unmarried and cohabiting with another adult to whom he is not related by blood or marriage. This information would be in addition to information on whether the petitioner is financially able, morally suitable, in satisfactory physical and mental health and a proper person to care for and to train the child, among other criteria." (Source http://www.equalityvirginia.) This bill was defeated in the State Senate judicial committee in late February 2005.

Feb 25, 2005

The VA House of Delegate passed SB 1338, sponsored by Senator Janet Howell and co-patronned by Senators Devolites Davis, Edwards, Potts, Saslaw and Watkins and by Delegates Brink, Callahan and Dillard, allows employers and insurers to agree on the class of persons to be covered by group health insurance plans.  Please send a special note to these patrons as well.


Currently, Virginia law says that only employees and their spouses and dependent children can be covered by group health plans.  Howell’s bill authorizes insurers to write coverage for “any class of persons as may be mutually agreed by the insurer and the group policyholder.”


Here is another story:


A Virginia circuit court denied visitation rights to a former female partner of a woman who had a baby by artificial insemination and had a civil union ceremony in Vermont. The woman claimed to have renounced lesbianism because of a “Christian” conversion. The case has been appealed.


For more on the situation with Virginia’s draconian law against civil unions, visit


From Equality Virginia, 1/3/2006:


“Having failed to convince his colleagues in the General Assembly to ban gay and lesbian adoption by co-patroning Del. Black’s adoption bill last year, Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) now proposes to ensure that child bearing is limited to women who are married. 


“He's introduced a bill, HB 187, that would prohibit doctors and other licensed health professionals from assisting unmarried women with becoming pregnant.  This would preclude lesbian couples from becoming a family through artifical insemination, gay couples from becoming a family through surrogacy, unless the surrogate was married, and would even prevent a widow from being inseminated with her dead husband's sperm or their embryos.” 


In January 25, 2006 the Virginia Senate approved its anti-gay-marriage amendment. The wording may be slightly softer as to not discouraging “legitimate” business arrangements, and voluntary arrangements like hospital visitation rights.

Section 15-A. Marriage.

That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

The ballot shall contain the following question:

"Question: Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state, in part, that 'only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions' and to add provisions relating to the legal status of other relationships and prohibiting the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from recognizing a legal status for relationships that intend to approximate marriage?"

 Many legal observers believe that this amendment would cause Virginia to reimpose a law that forbids private companies from offering domestic spousal benefits. 


go to 


There is an official attorney general's "explanation" discussed at


I am having trouble finding the text of the "explanation." The Richmond Times-Dispatch has an article by Bob Lewis on May 12, "Panel OKs disputed gay marriage explanation--court challenge possible" at (You may need to register and purchase the article.)


"This language in this explanation helps clarify that it was never the intention of any member of the General Assembly, presumably, that the constitutional amendment would prohibit people from entering contracts with one another _ signing wills, signing deeds or anything else," said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg.


See my editorial on this at


Amendment passed on Nov 7 2006 




2006 amend - marriage def, prevent civil union, endanger existing protections (similar to VA)   PASSED



In 2004 the British Parliament passed the Civil Partnerships bill, which will allow same-sex couples to form civil partnerships. After a 15-day waiting period, they can sign partnership documents in front of witnesses (starting Dec 5, 2005). “Britain to allow gay civil unions,” The Washington Times, Feb. 22, 2005.


June 28, 2005

From W E Woods (MPH)

“Ottawa CanadaCanada's Parliament passed their national all marriage (Gay Marriage included) law this evening with a 158 to 133 vote ((((Not Even Close))).  Actually, this was the House of Commons only, but the full Parliament is expected to pass this easily.


“Months of debates and delay after delay did not result in any less support for the measure.  In fact, many observers believed the delays paired with the growing number of visible Gay marriages in the provinces that had already opened up legal marriage to Gay couples helped increase the votes for the measure.  Additionally, as the conservatives created chaos over and over to cause delays their public support drained from about 50% to 35% in past few weeks.”


Canada is apparently (by some commentators) the only country about to offer full legal gay marriage rights recognized by civil government, although churches would not have to perform them.


According to Crary (below) 14.8% of gays and lesbians in British Columbia have married.




June 30, 2005


The Congress of Deputies in Parliament passed a marriage approving gay marriage by a vote of 187 to 145, despite opposition from the Vatican. The Senate had rejected it but it does not have a legal say in the vote in Spanish government. Spain is set to issue same-sex marriage licenses Friday July 1, 2005.






Gay couples can marry and can adopt children, even abroad.


In the Netherlands, 8127 same-sex couples have married since 4/1/2001 and that represents 2.6% to 6.3% of gays and lesbians there.






Gay couples can marry but they cannot adopt children; adoption is still being discussed by the Parliament.


David Crary, Associated Press, "Study Assesses How Many Gays Wed If Legal" reports that 2 to 5% of gays in Belgium have married.




Recognizes civil unions




Recognizes civil unions




Recognizes civil unions (including heterosexuals, and this supposedly has caused a decrease of marriage with children born in marriage)




Recognizes civil unions




Recognizes civil unions




Recognizes civil unions in some cantons


International info: AP, printed in The Washington Post, p A14, July 1, 2005. Story, Jennifer Green, “Spain Legalizes Same-sex Marriage; Prime Minister Makes Speech Backing Law Termed ‘Unjust’ by Church”


Muslim Countries:

Egypt and Saudi Arabia


See Negar Azimi, "Prisoners of Sex: In Egypt and across the Arab world, homosexuality is becoming a political issue. But as gay people become more visible, they could wind up even less free." The New York Times Magazine, Dec 4, 2006, p. 63. The article maintains that the Koran is ambiguous on homosexuality when read literally. However, there have been many busts in Egypt, with the police encouraging antigay violence, and in Saudi Arabia the government wanted to give hormone treatments to people arrested at a "gay wedding."



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