Texas LGBTQ+ Adoption Rights: What Are the Legalities?

Understanding Texas LGBTQ+ Adoption Rights

Adoption is a legal process that creates a new, permanent parent-child relationship where one did not exist before. In Texas, like in many states, adoption laws have historically been complex when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. However, evolving societal attitudes and legal precedents have influenced the adoption landscape significantly.

Legal Framework for LGBTQ+ Adoption in Texas

LGBTQ+ adoption rights in Texas are governed by state statutes and case law. While there is no explicit prohibition against LGBTQ+ individuals adopting children in Texas, there are no specific protections either. This ambiguous legal environment can create challenges for prospective LGBTQ+ adoptive parents.

In the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, which indirectly impacted adoption rights. This decision has compelled states to treat same-sex couples equally under the law, including in matters of adoption.

Joint Adoption and Second-Parent Adoption

LGBTQ+ couples in Texas may seek a joint adoption, where both partners legally adopt the child. Additionally, second-parent adoptions—where a same-sex partner adopts their partner's biological or adopted child—have also become more common post-Obergefell. However, these processes can be intricate and may require legal assistance to navigate successfully.

Discrimination Concerns

Despite progress made, potential discrimination looms over LGBTQ+ adoptions in Texas. Religious-affiliated agencies may claim exemptions from servicing LGBTQ+ families based on their beliefs. The state's 'Freedom to Serve Children Act' allows faith-based agencies to deny services that conflict with their religious convictions without risking government funding or contracts, potentially affecting LGBTQ+ individuals seeking to adopt.

The Path Forward: Legal Representation and Advocacy

For those in the LGBTQ+ community looking to adopt in Texas, it is crucial to secure knowledgeable legal representation familiar with the state's adoption laws and the intricacies of LGBTQ+ adoptions. An attorney can help navigate potential legal hurdles and ensure that the adoption process is completed legally and ethically.


LGBTQ+ adoption rights in Texas have come a long way but still face significant challenges due to legislative gaps and potential discrimination. As laws continue to evolve, it remains imperative for prospective LGBTQ+ adoptive parents to stay informed of their rights and seek professional guidance when considering adoption.