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Daddy and daddy

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Voter approval of Proposal 2 last year may have banned same-sex couples from legally marrying in Michigan, but if a “second parent adoption” bill passes the state Legislature, gay couples would have the legal leeway to become adoptive parents.

As it is now, only one member of a gay couple can adopt. State Rep. Paul Condino is trying to change that. The Southfield Democrat last month introduced House Bill 5399, which would allow “second parent adoption” rights, wherein both partners in a same-sex couple would be allowed legal custody of an adopted child. As it stands today, if the legally recognized parent dies or is incapacitated, his or her partner must wrangle with costly and often emotionally draining legal proceedings to get custody.

Second parent adoption and same-sex parenting aren’t exactly controversial ideas for most childcare experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics — a nationwide group of about 60,000 pediatric physicians, psychologists and social workers — supports the bill, saying “children deserve to know that their relationships with both of their parents are stable and legally recognized. This applies to all children, whether their parents are of the same or opposite sex.”

Not surprisingly, the view of experts doesn’t hold much sway with the Christian right, and such groups as the Lansing-based Michigan Family Forum are already denouncing the bill.

Getting this bill through the Legislature isn’t likely to be easy.

“I would expect it to have some controversy to it,” says state Rep. Bill Van Regenmorter (R-Georgetown Twp.), who chairs that committee. But with Condino serving on the same committee, it’s unlikely the bill will just die quietly.

Kathleen LaTosch, a board member for the Ann Arbor-based Coalition for Adoptive Rights Equality, says she gives the bill a high chance of passing. “I think it has a better chance than other gay-friendly legislation in Congress,” she says. “Even if you’re not certain about gay issues, you might think, ‘Do I really want to hurt the child?’”

Curt Guyette edited News Hits. Contact this column at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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