In the wake of New York’s legalization of gay marriage, adoption lawyers in the state are readying for an anticipated drastic uptick in adoptions. Same-sex couples will officially be able to legally marry on July 24, and thousands of couples are expected to say, “I do.”
Unmarried couples—regardless of sexual orientation—can adopt in the state, but starting a family is a natural step after marriage. On top of that, couples and adoption experts say gay couples’ cases will be taken more seriously by social workers, birth mothers, and adoption agencies, the Associated Press reports.
From 2000—the year Vermont legalized gay marriage—to 2009, the number of same-sex couples who adopted children increased from 10,700 to around 19,000, a demographer from the Williams Institute reported. However, experts won’t know if gay adoptions have increased in Washington, D.C. and the five states where same-sex marriage is legal until the results of the 2010 census are released.
The Williams Institute estimates that 2 million gay, lesbian, or bisexual couples have considered adoption. The think tank’s research found that less than one-fifth of adoption agencies attempt to recruit such couples or individuals from adopting. It also found that gay parents are raising 4 percent of the country’s children.