Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation allowing adoptees for the first time to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18-years-old. This measure (S3419/A5494) helps ensures that all adult New York adoptees will have the same unimpeded right to information about their birth and biological parents.
“Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records – it’s a basic human right,” Governor Cuomo said. “For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all.”
This legislation removes the right of government agencies to restrict the type of information made available to adopted persons and removes the previous barriers to receive information about biological parents to identify medical data that can prevent preventable diseases or untimely death. Under this new law, the adopted person’s lawful representative or their descendants will also be able to get access the birth certificate if the adoptee is deceased.
“I am so proud to have been the Senate sponsor of the Clean Bill of Adoptee Rights and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this historic piece of legislation, Senator Velmanette Montgomery said. “This has been long overdue. We owe our success to the advocacy of thousands of adult adoptees who have fought tirelessly on this issue for over 20 years. The level of support I received for this legislation from adult adoptees all across the state and the nation was astounding. It is important that they have the right to seek answers about their health, their family history and their heritage.”
“The signing of this adoptee rights bill is a momentous step forward for adoptees across New York State. After many decades, adoptees will finally share in the same human and civil rights as other New Yorkers who are free to access their family histories and medical backgrounds,” Assemblyman David I. Weprin said. “I commend Governor Cuomo for signing this landmark bill ending discrimination against adoptees statewide and I thank Senator Velmanette Montgomery for carrying this bill the Senate.”