NEW YORK — First comes love, then comes marriage. Now adoption lawyers and agencies in New York say they're getting ready for a baby boom as same-sex couples emboldened by the state's new gay marriage law try to adopt children.
New York will allow same-sex marriages beginning July 24, becoming the most populous state to legalize such weddings. The state already permits unmarried couples, both gay and straight, to adopt children. But a wedding is an important milestone in a relationship — and can bolster a couple's case with social workers, adoption agencies and birth mothers.
"I think they will feel more entitled to be a family under the new law," said Susan Watson, director of U.S. adoptions at Spence-Chapin Adoption Services in Manhattan.
Experts won't know for sure whether adoptions have increased in the five other states, plus Washington, D.C., that marry gay couples until the results of the 2010 census are released this year, said Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute in California.
But nationwide, about 19,000 gay couples had adopted children as of 2009, he said. That's up from 10,700 couples in 2000 — the same year Vermont began offering civil unions and four years before Massachusetts became the first state to recognize same-sex marriage.
Rumaan Alam, 33, and David Land, 37, of Brooklyn, adopted their son, Simon, soon after getting married during the short 2008 period when California performed such unions. Mr. Alam said they plan to get married again in New York for the benefit of their son.
"He's going to go to school and know that he doesn't have a mommy and a daddy like other kids," Mr. Alam said.