Legislative committees within a span of twenty-four hours in three separate states are considering equal rights legislation for adult adoptees this week. It is an epic week, and even more equal rights bills are pending in committees in at least two other states. But we need your help, support, and, ultimately, the power of your voice.
Just as advocates across the country successfully fought for a veto of a discriminatory bill in New York three years ago, we are asking that we come together again during a historic week that could be the turning point for equality for all adult adopted people in the United States.
Please sign on to the following letter, which will be sent to committee chairs in each state considering unrestricted equal rights legislation, three of which are being heard on Thursday and Friday. Legislators must know that we and our allies and supporters are unified and are not backing down from genuine equality. Make a difference and sign on today, either as an individual or as an organization. Thank you!
Dear Honorable Chairpersons:
We are state and national adoptee rights organizations as well as individuals and allies who are either adoptees themselves or impacted by adoption in a direct way. A bill that will restore a right once provided to all adult adopted people in this country is now pending in your committee. Indeed, within a span of twenty-four hours this week, committees in three states will hear such bills: Arizona (HB2600), Connecticut (SB113), and Maryland (HB1039).
It is no coincidence that these bills are making their way through state legislatures across the country, from Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in the East, Mississippi in the South, Minnesota in the Midwest, and Arizona in the West/Southwest. It is past time for this legislation. It is past time to restore a right every person in the United States once had: to request and obtain, as adults, a copy of their own original birth certificate, free from government restrictions and alterations, and free from the stigma and humiliation of enforced permanent secrecy.
These bills are truly bipartisan and have overwhelming support from colleagues and constituents. Primary sponsors of these bills are Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, centrists, and libertarians. Yet they have one thing in common: they “get” what it means to have your identity treated like a state secret. They get what it means to be shamed as an adult when others maintain control over your own personal vital record. They get that these bills will positively impact hundreds of thousands of constituents, whether the are adoptees, adoptive parents, birthparents, descendants, or any of the 150 million people impacted by adoption.
Many of the organizations and individuals listed below are already active in your state and working on these bills, and many are separately providing written support or testimony in your upcoming committee hearings. Please listen to these individuals and organizations.
We ask for your strong support for these bills in your committee. We ask that you and your colleagues vote to move these bills favorably toward enactment and to do what we have consistently asked of every legislator across the country: #GetItRight and #MakeItEqual. Adopted people deserve no less.
The letter is being sent to the following committee chairs and will be delivered on Wednesday, February 19, or submitted as a letter of support at upcoming committee hearings.
Chairwoman Nancy Barto
Health and Human Services Committee
Arizona House of Representatives
Chairman Luke Clippinger
Maryland House of Delegates
Chairman John Lesch
Judicial Finance and Civil Law Committee
Minnesota House of Representatives
Co-Chair Steve Cassano
Planning and Development Committee
Co-Chair Cristin McCarthy Vahey
Planning and Development Committee
Connecticut House of Representatives
Chairman William C. Smith, Jr.
Judicial Proceedings Committee
Chairperson Thomas Petrolati
Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Chairman Warren Limmer
Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee