Judge Rules Friends Can Adopt Together

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A judge in New York recently ruled that two friends can adopt together.

The ruling broadens the existing law to include “two unmarried adult intimate partners,” and does not define intimate based on a sexual relationship, but rather by the innate inimate relationship of parenting together.

“Indeed, the experience of jointly and intentionally parenting a child is itself of the most intimate nature,” Judge Rita Mella wrote in the December 27 opinion.

This is big news, granted it may only be in New York for now, but it opens opportunity for same-sex couples who choose to adopt.

In the judge’s ruling, she pointed out it the adoption by both parents benefits the child in the long run by providing dual benefits. In Judge Mella’s comments, she states: “Allowing him to adopt could enable the child, now 3 years old, to receive better health insurance, as well as social security benefits if the man became disabled or died, and enable the child to inherit from him should he die.”

Yes! Yes! This is so true. At this time in N.C., a same-sex couple cannot adopt as a couple because their relationship is not recognized as a marriage. Thus one person may adopt after multiple personal and home evaluations by a social worker that deem the home setting, finances, etc. suitable. And though both adults are the child’s parents in day-to-day life (Daddy and Papa in the case of the guys I know), only one has legal rights when it comes to health care and other major decisions sanctioned by the government.

But what happens if that parent dies? The other parent has no parental rights despite the child knowing them as their parent. 

As I’ve watched my two friends do an excellent job in raising their 3-year-old son, it breaks my heart that they live with this hanging over their heads. 

I hope that this ruling in New York sparks some new debate about adoption rules and regulations, and trickles down South soon. It’s about the children, a global society, helping others be their best.