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State Senator

Steve Cassano

Representing Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury & Manchester

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Senator Cassano's Adoptee Equality Bill Approved by Judiciary Committee

A bill championed by State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) that would allow adoptees born between 1944 and 1983 and whose birth parents are still alive to have access to their original birth certificates passed the Judiciary Committee this week on a 24-16 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

House Bill 5408, “An Act Concerning Access to Original Birth Records by Adult Adopted Persons,” has widespread, bipartisan support among lawmakers, adoptees, birthparents, and organizations. Almost 30 legislators have co-sponsored the bill, and more than 200 people testified or submitted testimony in support, including Access Connecticut, Concerned United Birthparents, National Association of Social Workers-CT Chapter, CAFAP, and the Connecticut State Medical Society.

“The input we received from the public and from the majority of legislators on the Judiciary Committee shows they believe existing Connecticut state law is discriminatory against adoptees born across four decades, from the mid-1940’s to the mid-1980’s, and that this law should be changed this year,” Sen. Cassano said. “I’ve been at this a long time, arguing for equal access rights by adoptees to their original birth certificates. I think now more than ever the time is ripe to right this wrong. I think the public and the legislature are familiar with the arguments in favor of doing this, and I think to some extent the science of third-party, independent DNA testing kits that are available through the mail has made the issue of a person’s heritage less of a mystery and more of a simple right. So I’m hopeful that this bill will pass this year.”

HB 5408 is a straightforward bill that simply removes existing language in state law that prevents an adoptee born between January 1, 1944 and October 1, 1983, and whose birth parents are still alive, from being able to receive their original birth certificate from the state Department of Public Health, like younger adoptees and any other non-adopted person can do.

If approved by both chambers and signed by the governor, the new law would take effect July 1, 2018.

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