Editorial: Love makes a family

By |2008-04-04T09:00:00-04:00April 4th, 2008|Uncategorized|

Here’s a question for the MEAP Test: If gay parents make children gay then straight parents make children _______?
The answer to the question is, obviously, not straight. The majority of LGBT folk had decidedly heterosexual parental figures in their lives. In fact, many LGBT people didn’t have any role models at all in their lives while growing up – no insidious “influence” from a gay uncle or a lesbian piano teacher. And yet, the right fears that LGBT parents can’t possibly be good parents. After all, they argue, how is a child supposed to grow up “normal” in a household full of homos?
They aren’t using these exact words – in public anyway – but the intent of the right is to keep children out of the hands of LGBT parents, the best interest of the child be damned. In Michigan two bills have been introduced in the House that seem to be tailored to hurt LGBT families without ever having to say as much. These bills are separate from a bill BTL reported about last week that would seek to ban second parent adoption for gay and straight couples in Michigan. That has yet to be introduced, but experts believe it is on its way.
Doing a quick Google search for Michigan + adoption, the first web site that popped up was a site listing children up for adoption in Michigan. A cursory search of the site found hundreds of children on the list. The majority were children over the age ten – children who are very difficult to place because parents want younger children, much like puppies and kittens always get adopted first from the Humane Society.
According to the Michigan.gov site, “Michigan has been recognized as a leader for our innovative approach to adoption and our high adoptive placement rates. The success of Michigan’s program can be attributed to the unique partnership between the public and private agencies responsible for adoption planning and placement of foster children who become permanent state wards.”
If this is true, why the new bills? If the system is so wonderful, why is now imperative to exclude gays – or to pass bills that would allow agencies the unchallenged right to do so?
It is difficult to digest the intentions behind these bills – why would a group that claims to champion family values be working actively to hurt families, specifically children who so desperately need one? Those who push such legislation seek to perpetuate the myth that LGBT people are harmful to children and that we seek only to recruit for devious sexual reasons.
This line of thinking is especially bogus in light of some of the things the LGBT community is doing for LGBT youth. In this issue we check in with the Ruth Ellis Center and note the amazing progress the organization has seen in such a short time. REC provides services for youth who often don’t have many options when it comes to places they can go and feel safe, and be who they are. Many of the youth REC serves are African American LGBTQ youth over the age 14. According to experts at Lambda Legal and Project YES, this is not a group of youth who fare well in the child welfare system. This legislation will only make things worse, which is precisely why the attack against LGBT foster and adoptive parents is so abhorrent. It shows a callous disregard for these youth and for the people who could potentially help them. REC can’t help every youth in Michigan and there are no other organizations like it in this state.
Love, not hurtful legislation, makes a family. Contact your Legislators now and tell them so.

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.