In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality for same-sex couples would be the law of the land. Since then, there have been small pockets of resistance in a handful states in the form of passing laws that would allow some religious agencies to discriminate against same-sex adoption applications. New York does have laws that provide protections for these couples; however, many advocates believe that the issue will be headed to the top court for a definitive decision.

A recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a baker could exercise his religious freedoms by refusing to provide services to same-sex couples. In its decision, the court stated that it was not a broader ruling on the issue of discrimination and only applied to this particular case. There are many who are concerned that this case could allow more agencies and businesses to claim religious exemptions that would lead to legal discrimination. 

There are currently nine states that have passed laws that allow agencies to refuse adoption services to those whose lifestyle opposes their views. There are challenges to those states’ laws that could eventually land on the docket of the Supreme Court. Adding to the potential problem is the fact that dozens of congressional members have requested that the current administration pass laws that will give religious agencies the right to continue to claim exemptions.

Advocates stated that the question now becomes whether religious freedom supersedes the rights of gay and lesbian people to not face discrimination for their sexual orientation or gender identification. New York residents who are interested in pursuing a same-sex adoption do have some protections in the state’s laws. However, if residents encounter difficulties in the process, they may benefit from seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney who has successfully facilitated these adoptions.