6 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 1 (2008-2009)
Throwing Black Babies Out with the Bathwater: A Child-Centered Challenge to Same-Sex Adoption Bans

handle is hein.journals/hasrapo6 and id is 5 raw text is: 









               Throwing Black Babies Out With the
                               Bathwater:
           A Child-Centered Challenge to Same-Sex
                            Adoption Bans


                            TANYA M. WASHINGTON*



                              Introduction

     Children, for whom the state acts as parent, are particularly
vulnerable and in need of protection. Ironically, in the context of
bans that categorically prohibit adoption by gays and lesbians,' it is
state action that limits placement opportunities and denies orphans
the protection they deserve.2     The specific focus of this article is the
impact on Black orphans of placement bans that prohibit gay
adoption. Because of their racial minority status, these children are
characterized as special needs children, a category that also
includes children with medical and developmental disabilities, older
children, and sibling sets which are more difficult to place in
adoptive homes and often wait the longest before being adopted.3

    * Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law; L.L.M. Harvard
Law School; J.D. University of Maryland School of Law. I would like to thank my colleagues for
their support and counsel, our wonderful law librarians for their invaluable research assistance,
my Research Assistant Sheena Bosket for her attention to detail, and the wonderful editors at
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal for their patience and skill.
    1. Though these bans do not ban all placements, they do categorically ban all permanent
placements with gay parents and will therefore be referred to as categorical placement bans in this
article. Barbara Woodhouse, Waiting For Loving: The Child's Fundamental Right to Adoption,
34 CAP. U. L REv. 297, 318 (2005) (where she refers to these bans as categorical bans
according to their categorical exclusion of gay potential adoptive parents).
   2. Some of these bans prohibit permanent placement of orphans with gay and lesbian couples
and individuals, while other more restrictive bans prohibit both. permanent placements and foster
care placements with gay and lesbian couples and individuals. Id. at 25-26.
   3. Special needs children.., suffer disproportionately from categorical barriers to adoption.
Remember that special needs children include not only disabled and older children, but also

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