New Hampshire Votes on Adoption Ban

April 21, 1999

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

"The Senate knew this bill was about supporting the best interests of children seeking adoptive or foster parents."
— Brendan Denehy, Out and Equal – New Hampshire

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today celebrates the New Hampshire Senate's 18-to-6 passage of a bill to repeal that state's 1988 ban on adoptions in which "one or more of the adults is a homosexual." The bill, HB90, passed the House on March 18, 1999. Governor Jeanne Shaheen has pledged to sign the bill.

"This is a tremendous victory for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered families," said NGLTF executive director Kerry Lobel. "But the real winners today are the overwhelming number of children waiting to be adopted into loving, caring families. The best interests of the children should always triumph over bigotry."

"We're very pleased that the measure passed. The Senate knew this bill was about supporting the best interests of children seeking adoptive or foster parents," stated Brendan Denehy, spokesperson for Out and Equal Ð New Hampshire, the statewide GLBT group that lobbied for passage of the measure. "We hope today's vote sends a message to other states that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered does not disqualify them from being good parents."

After New Hampshire's repeal becomes law, only Florida will continue to ban such adoptions, based on a 1977 law. This year, Arkansas passed a regulation banning foster care and Utah banned adoptions of children who are wards of the state. Similar anti-gay legislation has been introduced this year in Texas, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

New Jersey became the first state to mandate the GLBT and unmarried couples should be evaluated using the same standards as heterosexual, married couples. Some other states allow joint adoption as a matter of common law. Three state Supreme Courts — Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York — have expressly permitted second parent adoptions in which a lesbian or gay man adopts a partner's child. Many states' lower court have similar rulings. New York has enacted regulations providing gay people the same level of eligibility in adoption as non-GLBT applicants.

For more information, also contact Brendan Deheney, Out and Equal – New Hampshire, 603/358-6160. For other state legislative activity, please consult the 1999 Legislative Updates issued by the Task Force at For a complete review of 1998 activity, reference "Capital Gains and Losses," a state by state review of GLBT and HIV/AIDS-related legislation at


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.