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Rosie O'Donnell "Comes Out" on Network TV to Benefit Foster Children (March 14, 2002)

Rosie_odonnell_primetimeliveDuring an interview on the March 14, 2002 telecast of ABC's Primetime Live outspoken talk show host-actress-standup comic-Broadway show booster Rosie O'Donnell talked openly with Diane Sawyer about being a lesbian mother.  Her revelation was hardly a surprise (in fact, she portrayed a lesbian mom on an episode of Will & Grace six weeks earlier) but O'Donnell had never before verbalized it so publicly. 


Rosie_odonnell_familyThe reason Rosie decided to talk about her experiences as a gay parent was in hopes of bringing attention to the issue of gay adoption and a Florida law that prevented gay couples from adopting.  At the time O'Donnell and her partner, Kelli Carpenter had three adopted children.  Later in 2002 Carpenter gave birth to a fourth child.  (Their relationship ended in 2007.) 


Lofton_croteauThe impetus for her speaking out was the story of a gay male couple in Florida, Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau, who were raising five HIV-positive children (pictured), three of whom were foster kids.  The couple were able to adopt the other two in Oregon.  However, they were told by the state of Florida that they had to give up one of their foster children whom they had raised for 10 years.  Although the fathers wanted to adopt him, under Florida law they were prohibited from doing so because they were gay (Florida was one of three states with such a law). 


Alas, despite the publicity they were still unable to get a court to rule in their favor.  However, in 2009 a similar case was ruled in another gay plaintiff's favor and in 2010 Florida's adoption ban was overturned.  


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