4 Animal Parents That Should Be Glad They Aren't Humans In Mississippi
We're looking at you, Nebraska.
Adoption rights are not just for the birds.
It's 2016. We've been riding that sweet sweet wave of marriage equality since June of last year, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows for LGBT families. According to the Human Rights Campaign, only 9 states (and D.C.) have statewide laws protecting LGBT adoption rights while two states—Nebraska and Mississippi—flat out refuse to comply with nondiscrimination adoption policy. The rest fall somewhere on the spectrum of not fully dealing with the issue.
You know who's beating us in LGBT rights? Birds. That's right, our feathered friends are swooping in to care for chicks in need, regardless of who their partner is. Check out these four heartwarming stories of same-sex avian couples and their adopted hatchlings.
When you're done, tweet your congressperson.
1. Flamingo dads take a hatchling under their wing.
In 2014, a flamingo egg was knocked out of its nest at the Edinburgh Zoo and subsequently abandoned by its birth parents. Luckily, one of the same-sex couples in the flamboyance (that's a group of flamingos) went straight to the soon-to-be chick, fostered the egg, and raised the little hatchling as their own. According to senior bird keeper Nick Dowling, the chick thrived under the care of its two dads: "It's working out fairly well. Male pairs are equally able to rear youngsters."
2. Albatross moms co-parent a chick in a nest of their own.
Albatrosses are famous for their steadfast monogamy. The seafaring bird can live up to 70 years and commit to one partner for life. Laura Bush has even praised them as role models for Republican families. But Mrs. Bush would be surprised to learn that in some colonies, up to a third of albatross couples are female-female pairs.
While most of these pairs to not get a chance to raise a chick, two lesbian albatrosses in New Zealand made headlines in 2010 when they successfully hatched an egg together. One of the birds had mated with a male, but once the male disappeared, she returned to incubate the egg with her long-time female partner. According the Lyndon Perriman, a ranger from New Zealand's Department of Conservation, the moms share equal responsibility in the care of their chick: "The new parents will take turns to alternately guard and feed the chick, with one protecting it from predators while the other goes out to sea to forage for food several hundred kilometers away. They swap the roles every two days." That's a supportive couple.
3. Penguin papas raise a baby in the big city.
There have been so many stories of same-sex penguin couples that it's starting to seem like all of these flightless birdies are at least a little queer. But the first pair of penguin dads to steal our hearts was Roy and Silo at the Central Park Zoo. Back in 1998, zoo staff witnessed the pair performing mating rituals with each other and attempting hatch a rock together as if it were their egg. When another pair of penguins was unable to hair their egg, it was given to Roy and Silo who successfully brought a little chick named Tango into the world. Their family story was turned into the beloved children's book "And Tango Makes Three."
4. Gay vultures swoop in to save an abandoned egg.
Isis and Nordhorn found love in a German zoo. Brought in specifically to breed with females of their dwindling species, the two males only had eyes for each other. A spokeswoman for the Berlin Zoo said "They never bred. And when it came to courtship, they only mated with one another." So when a neglectful vulture mom abandoned her egg, zookeepers entrusted it to Isis and Nordhorn who promptly sat on it. Although the egg has not hatched yet, it's unclear if it is even fertilized, the hopeful dads continue to incubate it in a nest they built together, with love.