“It’s simple,” said Julie Hoffman, adoptions administrator for the state Department of Human Services. “Now that gay couples are allowed to marry, they’ll be treated like any other married couple who’s adopting.”
While same-sex couples have long been able to adopt from private, gay-friendly adoption agencies, adopting children from the foster care system has proved more difficult in some states.
“Marriage doesn’t create this completely certain playing field,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the children, youth and families program at the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for gay rights.
And some states have taken up legislation that would allow taxpayer-funded contractors that oversee state adoptions to refuse to let gay or lesbian individuals adopt children if it conflicts with the organization’s religious beliefs. Michigan passed such a law right before the court decision.
All but Arkansas and Tennessee also had policies that did not allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt foster children jointly, according to HRC. In Alabama, where a federal court overruled the state’s ban on gay marriage, gay couples were also not allowed to adopt jointly.
But many of those states are changing their policies in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision. That’s the case in North Dakota, where the law allows single people to adopt but specifies that adopting couples must be “husband and wife.”
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