As NBC reports last year, of the 980,000 same-sex couples in the United States reported in 2019, over 58 percent were married while the rest were unmarried.
Whether married or not, same-sex couples have the same rights to be parents as opposite-sex parents. But the laws and cultural environment currently need a couple of extra steps between choosing to have a baby and having joint custody of the child.
Adoption and the best interests of the child
Many same-sex couples seek to adopt a child. One checkpoint that same-sex couples may face in Texas is discrimination out of the best interests of said child. As Adoption Choices of Texas describes, a judge may deny an adoption based on the judgment that a same-sex couple does not represent a child’s best interests. This is still currently discrimination justified by Texas courts even though it is legal for same-sex couples to adopt.
Some same-sex couples wish to parent a biological child. This requires an opposite-sex surrogate to either carry for or donate to the couple. But laws as they stand still cede parental rights to the biological couple first over the same-sex couple. If all parties agree, the surrogate may forfeit 100% of their parental rights at birth. Then the same-sex couple may write their names on the birth certificate as the child’s respective parents.
Other options are available as well. Couples may have one spouse adopt as a single parent while in a relationship. Letting a surrogate have a hand in raising the biological child may provide a stable family unit.
Same-sex couples capable of providing a loving home to children have the legal rights to do so. Knowing their options for adoption may help secure them the family they want to build.