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According to the federal government’s most recent data, there were approximately 424,000 children in the care of the public child welfare system at the end of 2009. Of those children, approximately 115,000 of them were waiting to be adopted. Although the Department of Health and Human Services notes that there has been a recent decline in the number of children waiting for adoptions, the numbers are still disheartening. With thousands of children without stable, healthy homes it begs the following questions: Why have a few states denied children loving families simply on the basis of sexual/gender orientation? And, if we’re denying these families from adopting, what are the broader consequences?

The Center for American Progress (CAP) released an essay this week which focused on the economic and societal impacts of denying same-sex couples from adopting or participating in foster care. Of particular interest in this paper, were the impacts of a recent overturning of a Florida state law that expressly prohibited adoption by gays and lesbians:

“The Williams Institute, a legal and policy think tank at the UCLA School of Law, estimates that the Florida ban kept 165 children in foster care, costing the state $2.5 million per year. Williams also estimates that 219 children will be adopted by same-sex couples now that the ban is lifted, saving the state $3.4 million.”

CAP also highlights an important piece of federal legislation introduced this Congress by Representative Pete Stark (D-CA): H.R.3827, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. This legislation, if passed, would prohibit any federal funded child welfare entity from preventing adoption or foster care placements based on a parent’s marital status or sexual orientation. The bill, which has yet to be considered by the Ways & Means committee, has been applauded by both child and LGBT advocacy groups alike. We’re hopeful that Rep. Stark will reintroduce the bill next Congress, and that it will be given the consideration that it deserves.

The states participating in these restrictive adoption laws are politicizing an issue that is affecting the well-being of our children. Not only should we not stand for laws that encourage blatant discrimination, but additionally ones that are also costing thousands of children permanent and loving homes.

For more information on LGBT discrimination in adoption laws: