Wednesday September 22, 2010

NY Gov. Signs Bill Allowing “Unmarried” Partners to Adopt

By Peter J. Smith

ALBANY, New York, September 22, 2010 ( – New York will now allow unmarried partners – heterosexual and homosexual – to adopt a child together under new legislation signed into law on Sunday by Gov. David Paterson. The measure also allows same-sex couples with marriage licenses from other states to adopt children as well.

The bill amends Section 110 of the state’s domestic relations law, permitting “adult unmarried intimate partners” to adopt, “in keeping with the state’s policy to ensure the best interests of the child.”

The law already allowed unmarried adults to adopt, but the state Assembly said there was “confusion” about whether unmarried adult couples could adopt a child jointly when neither of them is the biological parent.

The Assembly said they intended with the measure to allow both adoptive parents to have their names on the child’s birth certificate, thereby ensuring lifelong economic support from both partners, including life insurance and social security benefits.

The measure also replaces the phrase “husband and wife” with the gender neutral “married couple” in order to allow same-sex couples to adopt. While New York State law does not allow same-sex “marriage,” it began recognizing out-of-state same-sex “marriages” after Gov. Paterson ordered state agencies to do so in May 2008.

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