New Jersey passes ‘landmark legislation’ that makes adoption easier for LGBTQ+ parents
A new law is set to go into effect April 1 in New Jersey that will expand adoption access to LGBTQ+ parents.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law that no longer requires prospective LGBTQ+ parents to undergo home studies, background checks or a court appearance as part of what is called a second-parent or “confirmatory adoption,” according to the Hudson Reporter.
“It’s critical that New Jersey promotes strong family structures with LGBTQ-inclusive policies, and with Governor Murphy’s signature on this landmark legislation, parents can fully focus on building, protecting and providing for their families,” said Alisa De Lorenzo, interim deputy director of Garden State Equality, in a statement.
New Jersey law currently only recognizes a legal parent as one who gives birth to the child, donates sperm or obtains a court order.
Although the biological parent’s spouse or civil-union partner can be listed on the birth certificate, this does not necessarily make them a legal parent. To become a legal parent so they are recognized as such in other states, the non-biological parent must to through a lengthy and costly process.
The new law will allow for parents who are either married or in a civil union, in which either one spouse or partner is not biologically related to a child that is either conceived or born during the marriage or civil union, to seek judgment of adoption from a court, according to Garden State Equality.
Non-biological parents include any non-genetic spouse in a marriage or civil union, whether same-sex or different-sex, including couples where one spouse is transgender.
Under the new law, the Family Division of the NJ Superior Court will issue a signed judgment naming both parents as the legal parents upon proof of: an original marriage or civil union certificate; an original birth certificate listing both parents; and a sworn declaration by the parents explaining how the child was conceived to ensure any other potential parent, such as a sperm donor, has consented to the adoption and relinquished any legal claims to the child.