Legislation could ban non-married couples from adopting

By Crystal Britt
REIDLAND, KY (KFVS) - Lawmakers in Kentucky and Tennessee are debating similar bills that would ban non-married couples from adopting.  It would affect not only gay couples, but straight couples who live together but aren't married.
"In our relationship we can't have children by natural means, so it would be nice to adopt and give them a loving home they deserve," said Jae Rayburn.
She lives in Reidland, Kentucky with her partner Jan.
"One day I'd love to be a mother," said Rayburn. 
It's something Jae and Jan have talked about, but now it's becoming a fear.  What if they never get that chance to adopt?
"I wish people would listen to reason saying he's gay or she's a lesbian...whoever," Rayburn said.  "They're afraid of what's going to happen to the child. In most cases the child will be fine." 
Not everyone agrees, like Reid Hearn of Mayfield.
"I definitely believe marriage is between a man and a woman," Hearn said. "No exceptions to that. That's the way it is period." 
The legislation in Senate Bill 68 would "Prohibit someone who is cohabitating with a sexual partner outside of marriage from becoming a foster parent or adopting a child."
Alison Kee of Marshall County agrees with some aspects of the legislation...as she fears unmarried couples might not be as committed.
"If they're going to be in it for the long run and they know down the road they're going to get married then the should go and do that," said Kee.  

Reid Hearn applauds the legislation saying, "That's not a healthy environment for a child to grow up. Children need to be adopted by a man and a woman who are responsible adults themselves that would love and take care of the child."

Jae Rayburn feels her family fits that description.
"If I could give a child a chance, my partner loves kids. She's crazy about them. It would be such a blessing. It's something we've always wanted to do, but I guess we'll see," said Rayburn.  
The measures in both Kentucky and Tennessee have not come up for a vote yet. They're still stuck in committees.  Missouri does not have a similar bill in law or in the works.