New Hampshire House Votes Down Adoption Ban

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to repeal the state's anti-gay adoption ban March 18. In the late 1980s the New Hampshire legislature passed a law banning gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from becoming adoptive or foster parents. Two separate votes were taken today - one of the foster care ban and one on the adoption band. Both times, the House voted overwhelmingly to repeal the ban. The repeal bill now moves to the state Senate, where its prospects are good.

New Hampshire is currently one of two states with laws preventing adoption because of a prospective parent's sexual orientation. Florida passed an adoption ban in 1977. This year, state agencies in Arkansas and Utah approved regulations to prevent gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from becoming foster or parents, respectively. Similar anti-gay legislation has been introduced this year in Texas, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

The following is a statement from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force field organizer Sue Hyde. Hyde, who lives in Boston, is also the parent of two children.

Let the word go forth from Concord: sexual orientation prejudice and discrimination is not in the best interests of children. Kids need love not bigotry.

Today's historic vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives to repeal the state's anti-children and anti-gay adoption/foster care law is a new high water mark for gay and lesbian people in New Hampshire and the nation. In a number of other states, legislators are considering bans similar to the one just rejected by the New Hampshire House.

This law was adopted in 1987, following a two-year struggle in Massachusetts to rescind a similar statewide policy. It codified the most hurtful myth about gay and lesbian people: that our sexual orientation makes us bad parents. Today's victory in the House firmly rejects that old and outdated idea for New Hampshire and the nation.

Today's action in New Hampshire comes days before the kickoff of an historic, first-ever campaign of actions in all 50 states for equality. Called Equality Begins at Home, the campaign is the largest grassroots political action in the history of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender movement. Activists in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have organized more than 350 events to address issues of anti-gay discrimination, violence, and prejudice. Equality Begins at Home is coordinated by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and organized by the Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Organizations.

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