This week, Governor Murphy signed S3528/A5396, which would streamline the “confirmatory” adoption process for LGBTQ families by allowing non-biological parents to simply seek a judgment of adoption from the court.
“It is 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 Alisha De Lorenzo, Interim Deputy Director for Garden State Equality. “The confirmatory adoption process for LGBTQ parents is rife with legal red tape, high costs, and significant barriers, and I can say from personal experience that this law will truly change the lives of our families for the better.”
In New Jersey, birth certificates do not establish parentage; they are merely proof of birth. The new law allows 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 judgement of adoption from a court. Previously, to obtain a “confirmatory” adoption decree, a non-biological parent must spend time, money, and effort on background checks, attorney fees, and a judicial hearing, which is an unnecessary use of judicial time.
New Jersey’s move forward to expand the adoption rights of LGBTQ families follows disappointing news this week where Tennessee’s legislature advanced a bill allowing adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ couples, which the TN Governor has vowed to sign.
The law was advocated for by community members Danni Newbury, Christy Wilson, Bill Singer, Esq., and Debra E. Guston, Esq. S3528/A5396 was sponsored in the legislature by Senators Scutari, Codey, Greenstein, Gopal, and Ruiz and Assemblypersons Huttle, Quijano, and Kennedy.