The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Hurting Kids at Any Cost

Around this time last year I posted about reports that Adoption.Com discriminated against gays seeking to adopt, and a lawsuit filed by one couple. Well, it looks like the discrimination suit against Adoption.com is moving forward.

More than three years after an Internet adoption site refused to allow a gay couple to post their profile, a federal judge allowed the pair’s discrimination lawsuit to go to trial.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton rejected arguments that Adoption.com had free speech rights to exclude same-sex couples from its paid listings, which are designed to match birth mothers with qualified parents.

“Plaintiffs are not seeking to place any restrictions on what defendants are permitted to say or to compel them to say anything,” Hamilton wrote in an 81-page ruling issued March 30. “It is the discriminatory conduct that is at issue here — defendants’ refusal to do business with the plaintiffs.”

In allowing the lawsuit to go to trial in June, Hamilton also dismissed the company’s claim that California anti-bias policies did not apply because Adoption.com is based in Tempe, Ariz., where state laws don’t bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status.

Around the same time last year, the ACLU issued a report on just how restrictions against gay adoptions harm children

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a new edition of its publication “Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting”, which compiles decades of social science research, the positions of the major child health and welfare organizations and government data to show how children are hurt by restrictions on parenting by lesbian and gay men.

“There are more than 100,000 foster children across the country in need of families,” said Leslie Cooper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project and one of the authors of the book. “As a society, we cannot afford to turn away the many lesbians and gay men who are willing and able to provide a loving home for a child.”

Social scientists have been researching the children of lesbian and gay parents for more than 20 years. This rich body of research, summarized in the book, proves that parents’ sexual orientation and gender don’t matter to children’s development; what matters is having committed, nurturing parents.

You can get a PDF of the report here. It’ll make nice reading alongside a new study from the Williams Institue at UCLA, Adoption and Foster Care by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States. [Via Mombian.] The stats, and implications, speak for themselves.

  • More than one in three lesbians have given birth and more than one in six gay men have fathered a child.
  • More than half of gay men and 41 percent of lesbians want to have a child.
  • An estimated two million GLB people are interested in adopting.
  • An estimated 65,000 adopted children are living with a gay or lesbian parent.
  • More than 16,000 children are living with gay parents in California, the highest number in any state.
  • Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the U.S.
  • Same-sex couples adopting children are older, more educated, and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents.
  • Adopted children with same-sex parents are younger and more likely to be foreign born.
  • Gay and lesbian parents are raising three percent of foster children in the U.S.
  • A national ban on GLB foster care could cost from $87 million to $130 million.
  • Costs to individual states could range from $100,000 to $27 million.

By the way, California may have the largest number of gay adoptions, but D.C. leads the nation with the highest percentage of gay adoptions.

Nearly a third of adopted children in the District of Columbia live with gay or lesbian parents, according to a new study, for a higher percentage than any of the 50 states.

Maryland and Virginia ranked eighth and 21st in the nation, respectively.

… “Given the constant need for more adults to care for children who are in the overburdened child welfare system, GLB people are an important new source for child welfare officials to tap,” the report concluded. “The fact that we already see so many GLB foster parents also implies that changes in policy to ban GLB people from fostering or adopting will have repercussions for children and for state welfare systems.”

Of the District’s 2,649 adopted youth, 758, or 28.6 percent, live in same-sex households, the study found. In Maryland, 2,142 of the state’s 32,269 adopted children, or 6.6 percent, live with same-sex parents. Of Virginia’s 38,289 adopted children, 1,143, or 3.3 percent, live with gay or lesbian parents.

Roughly 350 children in D.C.’s foster care system await adoption, D.C. Child and Family Services Agency spokeswoman Mindy Good said. The city has strict requirements for hopeful parents, she said, “but sexual orientation is not one of them.”

What’s particularly striking in the report is that the cost estimates in those last bullet points are conservative estimates, it’s likely the real numbers would be even bigger. The cost of prohibiting gays from adopting would probably be even higher, and that’s just in terms of dollars, and not the lives of children who would be denied the chance to have homes with loving families, some of whom might spend their entire youths in state custody,either in institutions or shuttled from foster home to foster home. But neither price, the human cost as well as the fiscal cost, is too high for religious conservatives bent on legislating our families out of existence.

To get an idea of just what this means, get your hands on a copy of We Are Dad, a documentary about the family who challenged Florida’s anti-gay adoption law when the state began procedures to remove their son from his home.

The Lofton-Croteaus are an amazing family; Headed by Roger and Steven; their contagious charm and humor has been key in coping with the rigors of raising Frank, Tracy, Bert, Wayne & Ernie. The dads also cope with the pressure of America’s most overtly anti-gay climates in its history;

4 of the kids have HIV/AIDS, 3 are of mixed race, 2 are from a backwoods Oregon Cult, and 1 of the kids, Bert, is at the center of one of the most hotly contested legal battles of this decade – Gay adoption.

Bert was born HIV positive, but at age 3 he sero-reverted, meaning he now tests HIV negative. The result is that Florida, who deemed the parents good enough to foster a sick, unwanted child, considers the dads inadequate to adopt that same, now healthy, child. Why? Because of Florida’s discriminatory complete ban on Gay Adoption.

In meantime you can check out this trailer.

You can also visit LetHimStay.Com.

The great irony here is that, when you consider the estimates for the cost of banning gay adoptions and compare them with the economic benefits of same-sex marriage, it’s pretty clear that discrimination is just bad business, but conservatives are completely willing to pass legislation that would have the effect of costing the government money, and discouraging potential business profits. I’d ask where the “compassion” in their conservatism is, but I haven’t heard many of them bringing that up lately.

Wonder why.

Oh, and if you look up “gay adoption” on YouTube, among your results you’ll get three minutes of rambling from this guy.

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