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Adoption bans are wrong

By |2006-02-23T09:00:00-05:00February 23rd, 2006|Uncategorized|

On the front page of USA Today this morning was an article about gays and lesbians adopting children. The gist of the article: emboldened by their success getting anti-gay marriage bans passed across the country, anti-gay family conservatives are going after the kids of same-sex parents.
After all, say said conservatives, children are better off in homes with a man and woman who are married to each other. Gays shouldn’t be allowed to adopt kids.
It’s a premise based on the erroneous belief that gays and lesbians are a danger to children at best and sexual predators at worst. That study after study has shown that children raised by gays and lesbians are no worse off – not to mention no more likely to be gay – than the children of heterosexuals makes no difference to these folks. They have an anti-gay agenda, after all, and the truth is often inconvenient when it comes to achieving their aims.
For those who have been following the so-called culture wars, this move by the right is not surprising. They’ve been using discredited research against gay and lesbian parents for years, all in the name of “protecting children.”
Of course, if they succeed in banning gays and lesbians from adopting children, all the right will have accomplished is to make life harder for the many kids who so desperately need homes, and the ones who already live with same-sex parents but are unable to enjoy the legal benefits and safety net of having two legal parents.
Even some proponents of anti-gay marriage bans understand this. Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican who was in favor of that state’s anti-gay marriage ban but opposes a recent proposal to ban adoption for gays, told USA Today, “This is not an issue about gays. This is about children.” And Husted should know. He was adopted himself.
Banning adoption by gay and lesbian people is a slippery area for conservatives and by no means a sure bet like marriage has been.
USA Today quoted Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, as saying the adoption issue “doesn’t have the emotional power of the gay marriage issue because there is no such thing as the phrase ‘the sanctity of adoption.'”
Gay father and author Dan Savage doesn’t believe the anti-adoption movement will fly. In an interview with BTL last year, Savage said, “They know that they will lose that argument, not only because the sadistic cruelty of taking children from the only homes they’ve ever known will not win them any awards, but it would be venturing the debate into how are those kids doing and they know that they’re doing fine.”
Not only are they doing fine statistically, but lesbian and gay people are also adopting some of the most difficult to place children from foster homes. Kids with disabilities, illnesses and histories of abuse are, right now, being loved and cared for by gay and lesbian parents. Perhaps gays see a kinship with such kids, according to Rosie O’Donnell, herself a lesbian parent. “As a gay person, as a child, you kind of know what it’s like to be the odd one out,” she told USA Today. “To deny people the right to try to reach kids who are unreachable is wrong.”
We agree. Not only is it wrong, but also it seems unfathomable that someone could actually argue for the opposite. While the right wing would like us to live in a utopia of one man-one woman marriage where every child lives in an intact heterosexual family, that’s not the reality we live in. There aren’t exactly lines around the block at foster care agencies of straight couples looking to adopt, say, babies with HIV or older children with mental illness.
“Our prisons are full of people who were in foster care, and those people were in, quote unquote, straight family homes,” Harold Birtcher, a gay father from Ohio, told USA Today. “If I can provide a loving, stable home for my little boy, that’s the goal.”
Shame on anyone who would work against it.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.