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The sponsor of a bill supporting adoption for co-habitating couples hopes it at least gets a committee hearing this year.
Right now, Utah is one of only three states that doesn't allow couples that live together, whether gay or strait, to adopt or foster children. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck wants to change that.
Last year her bill didn't make it to committee. This year, she hopes it will. "I'm hoping the difference will be the fact of the families that are adversely affected by current law will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and kind of share how current law impedes them," she said.
The bill gives preference in adoptions to legally-married couples. But it would also give parents the right to consent to have their children adopted by co-habitating couples in the event of their deaths.
Some lawmakers have expressed concern that the change would fly in the face of Utah's Constitutional ban on gay marriage. But Chave-Houck says they're not trying to do an end run around that law. She says she simply wants to provide solutions for Utah children and families who don't have certain options.
Rep. Ben Ferry, chairman of the House Rules Committee, says he hasn't seen the bill and therefore hasn't formed any opinion. But he says he'll thoroughly consider the bill and any long-term consequences.
Right now, there are about 450 children in Utah's Foster Care system. Utah Law does allow single people in Utah to adopt or foster children, but not if there's another adult in the home.