Montgomery and Adoptee Advocates Push for Vote on Adoptee Rights Bill


State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) gathered with adoptee rights advocates this week in Albany to call for passage of The Clean Bill of Adoptee Rights.

The legislation establishes the right of adoptees to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate upon reaching the age of 18. Advocates say the measure restores important civil rights to adult adoptees such as their right to access information that non-adopted persons have a legal right to obtain. In New York State, an adoptee cannot access his or her original birth certificate unless the adoptee goes through a judicial proceeding which does not guarantee that access will be granted.

Senator Velmanette Montgomery

“I am proud to sponsor this bill in the Senate because adult adoptees deserve access to their own vital records just like any other individual. They deserve the right to seek answers about their health, their family history and their heritage,” said Montgomery.“I thank my colleagues in the Assembly for passing it out of the Assembly Health Committee and look forward to continuing to push this important issue.”

Annette O’Connell, co-spokesperson of New York Adoptee Rights Coalition & Treasurer of Bastard Nation, The Adoptee Rights Organization noted that Governor Cuomo vetoed discriminatory legislation in 2017 that would have continued to restrict the rights of New York adoptees.

“In his message as part of that veto, Governor Cuomo requested a better bill from the legislature and ordered a state agency workgroup to study the issue and to make recommendations. The [Assembly member David] Weprin/Montgomery Bill A5494/S3419, came directly out of that process, and a large bipartisan group of legislators now stand behind it,” said O’Connell.

“Almost half of all legislators in the senate and assembly, including 60 percent of all New York Assembly members, have signed on to the bill. The time to pass this legislation this session is now 83 years overdue. New York’s experiment in enforcing eternal secrecy over a person’s own personal vital record has proven unworkable, discriminatory, and punitive,” she added.

Robert Carroll
Assemblymember Robert Carroll

Also supporting the bill is Assembly Member Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Ditmas Park).

“It is time that New York allows adult adoptees access to their original birth certificate. The State of New York should not be in the practice of withholding personal records from any individual,” said Carroll. “It’s time to give all New Yorkers the same access to vital identifying records.”