Monday, March 13, 2006

Crushing the Kids

The bile-tinged juggernaut of anti-gay-adoption seems perfectly willing to crush the children to hurt homosexual would-be parents. Yet according to convincing columns by one observer in Slate and the Washington Post, it's too late. Love and care for the kids have already won out.

Dahlia Lithwick states, "Whether or not same-sex marriage becomes widely legal in America, same-sex parenting is a done deal."

We read of the states that have or want to restrict adoption by same-sex couples. She cites:
  • Legal prohibition -- only Florida of adoption, but Arkansas, Nebraska and Utah forbid SS foster parents.
  • Prohibition in practice -- Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah.
  • Considering legal ban -- Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.
For such a hot issue in a nation wallowing in the muck of social conservativism, that really isn't many. In addition, Lithwick notes that family-court judges don't buy into homophobic hysteria. They have long seen that abuse almost always happens in mom/dad families; those damned straights!

She cites court cases that favor gay couples and single gay parents. Basically the judges aren't fooled by slurs and do act in the children's interests.

To illustrate the pervasiveness of SS parents, in the most recent census, 22% of male gay households and 34% of female ones include children. Currently, about 250,000 kids are in SS households, about 5% of those adopted.

Besides their experience, the judges must surely be aware of the need. The figures cited from foster care alone a list of 119,000 children awaiting adoption.

In this environment, Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities has received orders to stop all adoptions rather than risk continuing at its rate of about one to SS couples ever year and one-half. Fortunately, they only place a few dozen kids a year and more caring agencies without narrow-minded bullies at the top can pick up the slack.

Note that this is similar to a decision by previous (and disgraced) Archbishop Bernie Law, or if you like, Bernard Francis Cardinal Law. He ordered CC to dump their vital mental health services. They were widely used and particularly important in poor towns, like Lawernce. His caring, as the current bishops', most certainly has its limits.

Back to Lithwick, she ably dismisses those who make unsupported claims that being in a SS family is somehow inherently wrong and bad for the kid. As she puts it, "If in fact judges around this country are increasingly inclined to recognize the validity of same-sex parenting arrangements, it's not because they are activists, or because they're mangling a long-established tradition of family law to do so. Courts that adopt broader visions of 'parent' and 'family' aren't reading radical new rights into their state constitutions. They are doing precisely what family courts are asked to do: Make a determination about what's in the 'best interest of the child.'"

Case by case around the nation, judges climb right into adoption cases to determine whether this or that combination or two-parent or single, straight or gay, biological or adoptions or other works best for that child. This effort "reinforces the legal proposition that children are not their parents' chattel; the state has an obligation to privilege their needs, sometimes even over the needs of their own parents, and other meddlesome adults."

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