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Hey, David: Adopt inclusion, don't foster bias!

by Jeremy Hooper

200802281122David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee has written a commentary defending the adoption statutes that have historically prevented gay and unmarried couples from adopting in the Volunteer State.  Here's a snippet:

We must understand that adoption is not a right and is not about the adoptive parents as much as it is about the child. The overriding issue is "the best interest of the child." When, as with adoption, the state is involved in creating a family, it must do its best to ensure a stable home environment. And when two people, as opposed to one, are going to be legally charged with making decisions jointly that will forever affect a child, it is important that there be a commitment between those two adults, and that those who breach that commitment be subject to legally imposed obligations for the benefit of the child.

While any two people may be committed to one another, there is only one means of demonstrating that commitment that our citizens have endorsed, and it is marriage. And while marriages are under great stress and undervalued, as evidenced by the attorney general's view of the issue, they are still the most enduring, healthy relationship capable of providing the best environment for children. The studies are clear that cohabitating sexual relationships are not very stable, some showing that as many as 75 percent of children born to cohabitating parents will have their parents split up before they reach age 16 — and this is when the child is theirs biologically. And statistically speaking, homosexual relationships are just as unstable.

When the state is going to put two people "in charge" of a child, it is in the child's best interest that the couple be committed by the bonds of marriage.

We say in response to Mr. Fowler's short-sighted assessment of parental worth:

First off, David, it's quite convenient that you've chosen to include a stat about the instability of cohabiting parents and anecdotally added on to the stat by saying that gay relationships are just as unstable, yet completely overlooked the stats for modern divorce rates.  We're not going to pull some selective stats and post them here, because anyone can cherry pick any sort of data on subjects like this to support whatever claim they want.  But it's agreed by most everyone on both sides of the issue that marriage has been on a steady decline over the past few decades, and that divorce rates, while actually lower than in previous years, are still quite high.  So if you're going to paint marriage as this gold standard that automatically leads to a life of two parent bliss, you have to at least give lip service to the idea of divorce (a word not mentioned once in the entire piece).

But moving past the idea of divorce, let's now talk about marriage itself.  David, you ideally would like adoptions limited to those who've exchanged rings and registered for China that they'll rarely use.  We get that.  But do you not see just a teensy bit of hypocrisy in denouncing the supposed instability of gay couplings yet at the very same time standing in opposition to their legal unions?!  By fostering an environment where gay kids grow up feeling like they will never have the chance to settle down, have a dream wedding, get a house with a white picket fence, and raise 2.5 children, you social conservatives are doing more to encourage gay instability than most other factors combined!  Trust me -- this writer grew up in your state!  I know that my crystal ball showed me a future picture whose only possibility for happiness lied in being a "swinging bachelor."  It wasn't until I escaped to lands more liberal that I realized I deserved the same sort of happiness as my hetero siblings, then sought after and found the one true love with whom I've joyfully pledged a lifetime commitment.  Marriage became real to me.  Its denial became ENRAGING.

The problem as we see it, David, is that rather than wanting to judge adoption fitness on the merits, skills, and qualifications of the potential parents, you are trying to foster an environment where one automatically gets a leg up by sheer virtue of their marriage certificate.  We totally get the fact that you social conservatives think that marriage is fantastic (we agree), and that it should remain as a one man/one woman affair (we loudly protest).  But like with so many other "pro-family" campaigns, this narrow vision ignores the reality of life.  Single parents can be quite great at rearing children.  Duos who choose to remain unmarried (for a myriad of reasons) are a part of the fabric of society, and they have just as much parental skill instilled with them as their "
I do"-swapping counterparts. Gay couples, who may or may not want to get married but are being prevented from doing so no matter their standpoint, come in all shapes, sizes, outlooks, and parental abilities.    It is the actuality of society that we must consider, not just the portion that fits the Judeo-Christian ideal.

The bottom line is this, David: If you TRULY want to protect children, you will not so narrowly suggest that the poverty line-living Jim and Tammy are going to be better parents than the well-educated and moneyed Joe and Steve, simply because one couple was born into a world that allowed them to get hitched and one was not.  The spectrum of the world will NEVER be one filled only with married heterosexuals who are ready and willing to adopt kids.  It will remain, at least for all of our lifetimes, one in which thousands upon thousands of children are in need of a good home.  And it's a sad statement that he who is exacerbating the latter situation by holding out hope for the former can get away with declaring himself the "pro-family" and child-focused one! 

Bill would reaffirm stable adoption law [Tennessean]

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Your thoughts

NICE! *Well* said! :)

Posted by: Maxine Dangerous | Feb 28, 2008 11:46:06 AM

And by "the best interest of the child" iin mind he means what best eases the conscious of the religiously intolerant. I particularly like the marriage bit, as if our lack of ability to have our relationships legally recognized is our own fault.

Posted by: Patrick B | Feb 28, 2008 2:50:24 PM

No body wins, gay transgender or straight with the fertlity industry hypnotising them through its public relations -


Posted by: Stella | Feb 29, 2008 11:54:46 PM

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