Imagine not being allowed to adopt a child you had raised since birth. That is what some same-sex partners are facing. Michigan is among a handful of states that still offers no legal protections for gays and lesbians – and that can have major consequences for their children.Yeah, explain to me how this state of the law is good for children. It doesn't prevent gay people from adopting, it doesn't prevent gay people from parenting, if that's the goal of the lawmakers. It just makes sure that children are punished because some policy makers disapprove of the families their parents have created.
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A local lesbian couple has been raising three children since birth, kids who otherwise would have been in the foster care system. One of the women adopted one child – while the other woman had to adopt the other two – that’s because the law in Michigan won’t let them jointly adopt all three kids. And they’re hoping this lawsuit will change the lives of children all over Michigan.
April Deboer and Jayne Rowse have dedicated their lives to raising three small children – two of whom have special needs. April and Jayne are both nurses – and they have been in a committed relationship for more than a decade.
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Because the Michigan Constitution bans same-sex marriage – same-sex couples cannot jointly adopt children.
“I don’t see how that puts the best interest of the child at the forefront,” says Rowse.
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Nessel says the legal rights of children of same-sex couples are being hurt in many ways. If one of their parents dies, the other parent would have no legal claim to the child.
“So in the event something happened to her, not only would her children lose their mom, but they would also lose the only other parent they know and their sibling,” says Doboer.
Also, when April takes the boys to the doctor, she has to take Jayne with her. “I can’t legally sign for treatments. I can’t legally sign for anything. I have to wait for her to show up to the hospital in order to get treatment,” she says.
Lawyers say the children of same-sex couples also don’t have the same inheritance rights that other kids do. They also can’t receive social security disability from the non-adoptive parent, or health insurance. Also if a same-sex couple separates, they have no legal ability to see the children that they didn’t adopt.
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