Stark’s LGBT adoption/foster care bill returns

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, will hold a panel discussion Thursday on Capitol Hill to mark the re-introduction of his “Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” a bill his office says would “open more homes to foster children by working with states to end discrimination against adoptive and foster parents based on sexual orientation and marital status.”

The panelists will include:

  • Jason Hoffmaster, an adoptive parent and foster care alumnus who lives in Seattle with his partner and their four adopted sons; he’s also a board member for Amara Parenting, a private foster care and adoption agency in Seattle.
  • Martin Gill, who with his partner of more than eight years has been raising two foster children since 2004; they’re now involved in a lawsuit against Florida’s policy that automatically denies adoption by gays and lesbians.
  • Leslie Cooper, an American Civil Liberties Union senior staff attorney who is the lead attorney in Gill’s case.
  • Uma Ahluwalia, director of the Department of Health and Human Services for Montgomery County, Maryland; she previously served as principal deputy director and interim director for the Child and Family Services Agency in the District of Columbia.
  • Charlotte J. Patterson, a University of Virginia psychology professor who is among the nation’s foremost researchers on the psychology of sexual orientation; her particular research emphasis is on child development in the context of lesbian- and gay-parented families.
  • Gary J. Gates, a senior research fellow at the Williams Institute in the UCLA School of Law and co-author of The Gay and Lesbian Atlas; he’s known as a leading expert on the demography and geography of the gay and lesbian population.
  • Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.