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What to Know About the History of Same-Sex Adoption
Unfortunately, the history of same-sex adoption is rather brief — but not for lack of interest or desire to adopt by hopeful LGBT parents. History has not treated LGBT individuals kindly and, therefore, their ability to adopt — and even get married — is a very recent development. In fact, most of the important moments in the history of gay adoption have only happened in the last 40 years.Before the 1970s and 1980s (when the gay rights movement really began to take hold), homosexuality was something that was rarely discussed and even illegal in some places. Therefore, it was near impossible for LGBT parents to adopt or even raise children without great difficulty. Many LGBT individuals ended up having children through heterosexual marriages but, if they came out and left that marriage, they would likely lose custody of their child, as well. When LGBT families did exist, it was because of great secrecy and care taken to protect them from those who would interfere. Add to that the secrecy surrounding adoption in general, and you can see why gay adoption history is scarce until the second half of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the civil rights era of the 1970s and 1980s that the history of gay adoption and gay civil rights in general really started to mark monumental events. As LGBT individuals began to fight for their right to marry and have children, they also faced discrimination from heterosexual and homosexual individuals alike. However, as it became more common to see LGBT families with children, societal views began to shift toward the positive. In the 1980s and 1990s, many LGBT individuals started having children through fertility services like insemination and surrogacy. However, it remained illegal for many same-sex couples to adopt a child together because they could not get married (many states’ adoption requirements for couples include being married). For those who did adopt a child, they had to do so on their own after finding a professional who was open to placing a child with an LGBT individual or couple. While views of LGBT families began to improve during this time, it wasn’t until the new millennium that landmark moments in the history of same-sex adoption were achieved.