Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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This Comment will propose eliminating the adoptive parent's weight as a determinative factor in adoption proceedings, evaluating instead the parenting skills of the potential parents, as well as their ability to emotionally, physically, and financially care for the adopted child. Part II of this Comment will discuss the history of adoption law in the United States and show how this area of law arose out of the need to find loving homes for the overwhelming number of orphaned children in America. Part II will also describe the current adoption process to demonstrate how adoption agencies and the court system use discriminatory screening factors to give preference to "ideal" parents. Part III will provide an introduction to obesity and discuss how size stereotypes in American society negatively affect the obese person in numerous aspects of life from childhood through adulthood. Part III will also discuss the current federal and state laws already enacted to combat size discrimination in the workplace and suggest that similar laws be put in place in adoption proceedings as well. Part IV will propose that disallowing a person of size to adopt is weight discrimination and is likely unconstitutional as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Part V will discuss how an obese person may have a more difficult time in adopting a child due to the courts' ability to discretionarily deny an adoption based on the adoptive parent's weight. It will also examine similar practices of weight discrimination in international adoptions and argue that if the United States adopts the policy of denying adoption based on the prospective parent's weight, the obese person may not be able to adopt a child of any race, either foreign or domestic. Part V will then suggest the fallacy in the courts' concerns with granting an adoption to a person of size and illustrate how allowing an obese person to adopt will still meet the courts' objective of doing what is in the best interest of the child. Finally, Part VI will argue that the best course of action is to rescind the discriminatory policy of denying adoption based solely on the parent's weight, and allow adoptions to be based on the individual's parenting skills as well as his or her ability to financially and emotionally support the child.



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