The Republic of T.

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

More Poisonous Parenting

When I wrote the previous post, I hadn’t thought about the possibility of it becoming a series. But since posting it, I’ve received a few stories via email and come across more in the news that I thought worth highlighting. Why? Because, there’s still some life — and legislative consequences — left in the assumption that heterosexuals are better candidates for parenthood than LGBT people, simply by virtue of being heterosexual. Case in point, Dana pointed out that Oklahoma’s anti-gay adoption bill — which I’ve blogged about before, here and here— is still churning through the courts.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a state law preventing gay couples from getting birth certificates for children adopted in other states is unconstitutional.

The appeals court upheld a previous ruling by U.S. District Judge Robin Cauthorn.

”We hold that final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation,” the court says in its Friday ruling.

I’ll leave it lawyers and other legal minds to figure out the implications re: the Full Faith and Credit clause. The defeat of anti-gay adoption bills in several states, and the passage of the Colorado bill are encouraging. But as long as some people with media bullhorns call gay parenting abusive and selfish, it’s worth seeing how we measure up against some inherently better candidates — because they’re heterosexual — for parenthood .

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Parents like Angela Vasquez.

A woman hospitalized with self-inflicted stab wounds was charged Wednesday with killing her two children, who were found dead in her apartment.

Angela Vasquez, 31, allegedly killed Yasmine Burgos, 13, and Dennis Burgos Jr., 10, then stabbed herself.

Vasquez was arrested at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she was taken Sunday night after police found her and her children’s bodies in their Roslindale apartment.

The causes of death have not been released, but police previously said the children were stabbed.

… Friends and neighbors have said Vasquez had threatened suicide over the weekend and was distraught after recently leaving her job as an executive assistant at Children’s Hospital.

In 1998, the Department of Social Services investigated Vasquez for child neglect, but considered the problems resolved when the case was closed in 2000.

Or parents like Judith Leekin, who also left an indelible impression on her children. With handcuffs.

Investigators believe Leekin adopted 11 children from four separate New York City agencies using various aliases from 1993 to 1996.

Port St. Lucie police say she held the children like prisoners in her home, often handcuffing them together and not allowing them to use a bathroom. The children, who now range in age from 15 to 27, told police they were never allowed to attend school, see a doctor or a dentist and were barely fed.

All the victims had scars on their wrists from being handcuffed, police said.

Wow. Bet nobody hassled her about adopting across state lines.

Then there’ s Nancy Ortiz, who left babies all over town.

Sheriff’s deputies said Tuesday they believe Ortiz had three babies, the same children whose abandonment and origins captivated this small farming community about 60 miles southeast of Fresno.

The last abandoned child — a newborn girl — died in the bed of a pickup truck in December, and police believe the 22-year-old Ortiz left the baby there. The baby’s two older siblings survived their abandonment.

… The first newborn was discovered February 10, 2005, a barely breathing boy swaddled in a blanket on a bench a block from Ortiz’s home, the umbilical cord still hanging from his tiny body. On January 8, 2006, a resident discovered a full-term baby girl inside a pickup two blocks away, clothed in an undershirt and pants. Those babies became wards of the state.

Then a neighbor in Ortiz’s subdivision found the baby girl, enveloped in a sweat shirt and deserted in the back of a truck on December 3. A coroner determined she was alive for less than a day and had died of exposure to the cold.

… Then last week, two anonymous tips led authorities to Ortiz. After getting reports that her 3-year-old daughter was wandering naked and alone on the street, a detective brought Ortiz in for questioning and determined that she was a suspect in the homicide.

In my neck of the woods, there’s the teenager who left he baby in the toilet. Literally. In the toilet.

She hid her pregnancy under baggy clothing, and when the eight-pound baby boy arrived in December 2005, the 17-year-old Arnold girl delivered the baby herself, then left him in the toilet for five to 10 minutes. Finally, she placed the infant in a plastic bag and put him in a trash can outside.

… At a hearing July 18, she pleaded not guilty to the charges but agreed to the facts of the case, including the delivery in her mother’s home and the decision to put the baby, whom she decided was dead, into the trash.

The child was found the next day after the teenager’s mother confronted her. A medical examiner determined that the baby died of asphyxia, either from drowning or from being left in the bag, and said exposure to the cold weather might have contributed to his death.

Wow. Good thing they weren’t lesbians. They cold get pregnant as many times as they wanted without having to go to a state Supreme Court.

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which two doctors refused a woman IVF treatment because she’s a lesbian. Which means that they felt that Guadalupe Benitez and her partner (whom Elizabeth Weil wrote about for Mother Jones last year) did not have the right to the life they hold so dear.

The case, which began in 2001 with Benitez claiming that the doctors violated California’s anti-discrimination laws, is seen as one of the most controversial the Court has heard in years. The doctors were not refusing a service—they routinely performed IVF on other patients—but instead cited religious beliefs in this specific instance. The court could find that doctors will have to take an “all-or-nothing” approach, which would mean loss of lucrative IVF business if such doctors stick to their religious standards.

The doctors’ defense all along has been that they didn’t perform the procedure because Benitez is unmarried. (Benitez has said, under oath, that the doctors told her it was because of her sexual orientation.) Okay, so let’s give them their defense for a sec. Do they then support gay marriage so that newborn life can be cherished? And how come they have religious objection to IVF for unmarried women, but are fine with assisting in the production of up to a dozen excess embryos per woman they treat? These embryos now number half a million nationwide; they’re sitting frozen in storage and are most likely destined to be destroyed.

The previous two mom’s may have missed out on some lucrative business themselves. They could have made a buck or two selling soft-porn pictures of their kids on the internet.

A Woodsboro mother pleaded guilty Wednesday to secretly sending photos of her partially-clothed teenage daughter to another juvenile.

State prosecutors said Donna Compton, 46, admitted sending pictures of her 14-year-old daughter in various stages of undress without her daughter’s knowledge. Prosecutors said she sent the photos to a juvenile acquaintance.

And if they got tired of being parents, they could always shoot their kids later.

Montgomery County police have charged a man with killing his two sons Monday morning in Silver Spring.

Two people were found dead inside a townhouse at about 9 a.m. in the 14900 block of Dinsdale Drive after a call about a domestic dispute, according to a police spokeswoman. News4’s Megan McGrath reported that the victims appeared to have been shot to death. The exact cause of death will not be determined until after the medical examiner completes an autopsy.

Police said Thurman Herring surrendered to police in Rockville after making the domestic dispute call. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a handgun during a felony in the deaths of his sons Justin Demetrius Herring, 20, and Jeremy Herring, 18.

On top of all that, there’s yet another story of kids left in the car.

Sametta Heyward was in a bind. The single mother was scheduled to start a double shift at 3 p.m., and her baby sitter had just canceled.

“She was either told to come to work or be fired, or she was afraid to call in sick — one of those things,” said police Lt. Michael Fowler.

She made it to her job at a county-run group home July 29, a typically warm summer day. After eight hours, she called a supervisor and said she had to leave because of child-care issues.

According to her employer, she didn’t tell the supervisor or a co-worker that for all that time, she had left her 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son in her Chevy Cavalier hatchback, parked on a residential street.

She had left Triniti and Shawn with battery-powered fans, food and drinks, but it was not nearly enough to combat the sweltering conditions inside. She later told relatives that when she got to the car at 11:30 p.m., the children were unconscious and had weak pulses.

A day later, police found her at her apartment wailing, “Oh, my babies!”

Officers said in a police report that she tried to kick and bite them and asked them to kill her. The bodies of the children, bathed and dressed, were found wrapped in trash bags and stuffed under the sink.

Now, I know that with that story, as with many of the others above, there are a whole set of issues at play that need to be addressed: everything from race to mental health to child care and living wages. But those are all issues that affect LGBT families too. The difference is that while people may shake their head over the stories above, and in some cases criticize the parents, to a lot of people they are still better parents than me or any number of LGBT parents who never done any of the above; because to too many people heterosexuality makes you a better candidate for parenthood than an LGBT person.

Because being a heterosexual doesn’t automatically make you a good parent. But being gay or lesbian automatically makes you a bad parent, which puts you in the same basic category as the parents above; who, by the way, at least have a shot at being good parents if they clean up their acts. After all, they’re still heterosexual.


  1. from Schmitz Blitz:

    Family Values Victory in the 10th Circuit

    On August 3, 2007 the 10th Circuit Court ruled that the Oklahoma law that banned the recognition of out of state adoptions by same-sex couples was unconstitutional under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

    Finstuen v. Crutcher is a great victory for gay parents who previously risked having their parental rights stripped away upon entering the state of Okalahoma.

    I found two things interesting about this case. First the Court decided to base its judgment on the Full Faith and Credit Clause without even addressing the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses. The latter two are obvious points of contention to the Oklahoma statute—the law categorically rejected out of state adoption certificates granted only to couples of the same sex.

    It seems the Court did not want to get into the politically risky realm of equal and fundamental rights for gays. It was probably wise on their part. This is the Mid West we’re talking about after all—the justices probably would have been burned in effigy and/or received death threats had they decided that gays had a constitutional right to adopt and be treated as equals.

    I also think the potential impact this decision may have on DOMA is interesting because the easiest challenge to DOMA is that it too violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause by saying states do not have to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. The 10th Circuit Court in Finstuen v. Crutcher, however, seemed to be careful in its wording saying:

    In applying the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between statutes and judgments. Specifically, the Court has been clear that although the Full Faith and Credit Clause applies unequivocally to the judgments of sister states, it applies with less force to their statutory laws.

    Are they trying to set aside an exception that would allow DOMA to stand—somehow trying to classify one state’s acceptance of a same sex marriage as a ‘statutory law’ rather than a ‘judgment’, and thus not equivalent under the Full Faith and Credit Clause? Or are they trying to say that the Full Faith and Credit Clause is weaker, as a matter of fact, in cases of statutory law because of the generally accepted public policy exception?

    Either way it seems the 10th Circuit tried to make their decision in Finstuen v. Crutcher just narrow enough so as not to deal a fatal blow to DOMA. However they provided just one more powerful background case to any future case that would deal with DOMA.

  2. Evidence that is nothing more than a list of analogous stories is the *exact* strategy of your opponents, and a strategy that is void of credibility and merit. I clicked this link expecting to see some interesting data, read a new report, something…

    Instead, I find a laundry list of horrible and heart breaking stories…and not one single thing to further your cause. Someone could replace “Hetero” with “Homo” and this post would be right at home at any right wing hate sight…and you would very likely be up in arms trying to make the point, “Of course there are crazy gay people, but that doesn’t mean…”

    Very, very, very poorly played.

  3. “Very, very, very poorly played.”

    I have to agree with you that hard data would’ve been much more convincing AND that this is the exact same tactic used by the statistically challenged homophobes. But are there any cases of such child abuse by gay couples? I know of none, and if there were you know the christian freaks, uh, fundamentalists would’ve made it more than clear time ands time again. In this sense, I think the author has a point, and I do know of statistical studies that have shown gay couples to be just as good at parenting and perhaps even better.

  4. what would bust all those so called gays arn’t good parents crap is if the lawyers representin the gay adoption folks get all the records of convictions of all the good upstandin christians that have done the most repehenceable vile horrible things they have done to children and bring those records into the court all the boxes and boxes of cases where those so called good christians can see all the harm they have caused and shove it in there faces but then again they would just say the devil made them do it