Confirmatory Adoption Now Available in Maine
Thanks to Representative Matt Moonen, Polly Crozier of GLAD, and individuals who testified in support of LD 1906 An Act to Enable Confirmatory Adoption, parents of children conceived through assisted reproduction now have an easier path to securing their legal parentage.
Becoming effective October 25, 2023 is Maine's new confirmatory adoption statute. This law will allow parents of children conceived through assisted reproduction to confirm their legal parentage and obtain a decree of adoption. This statute effectively removes the greatest barriers to LGBTQ+ parents confirming their legal parentage.
For LGBTQ+ couples who together planned and participated in the conception of their child, Maine's confirmatory adoption statute provides an easy way to secure their legal parentage - without a hearing, without participation from their donor, and without the intrusive background check and home study.
Why Is Parentage Important?
All children deserve the security of knowing who their legal parents are. The uncertainty and anxiety of not having gestational or genetic ties to your child as a parent in an LGBTQ+ relationship isn't only stressful, but can also come with legal implications.
In 2023 we have watched courts in at least two states throughout the country (Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) strip parental rights from the non-gestating parent of a lesbian couple in the context of a divorce. The current socio-political climate isn't bringing much in the way of assurances forLGBTQ+ parents to feel they are not under attack.
What Was the Previous Adoption Process in Maine?
Maine has and will continue to permit step parent and second parent adoptions through the probate code. While not a problematic process compared to the legislative framework of most other states, the process gives a great deal of discretion to the judge. The efficient, clearly-delineated process for securing legal parentage as outlined in the Confirmatory Adoption Statute (M.R.S. 18-C Section 9-316) effectively removes much of the judge's discretion regarding hot-button topics such as donor participation, home study reports, fingerprinting, background checks, adoptee interviews, and requests for guardian ad litems.
What Happens Next?
Maine is the 8th state in the United States to enact a confirmatory adoption statute, and was the 10th state to adopt a comprehensive parentage statute outlining eight mechanisms for establishing legal parentage. The Maine Parentage Act applies regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and genetic relationship to the child.
I hope Maine will continue to be a trendsetter regarding reproductive rights and family formation law. A special thank you to Representative Matt Moonen, Polly Crozier of GLAD, and all those who generously and fearlessly spoke out in support.
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