Hot Topic: Florida's Ban on Adoption By Homosexuals
The recent announcement of Mary Cheney's (daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney) pregnancy has once again ignited the debate over parenting by same sex couples. Florida, with our statutory ban on adoption by homosexuals is on the front lines of that debate. Illustrating that point liberals over at FLA Politics are calling for Governor-elect Charlie Crist to repeal the ban as a demonstration that Crist is committed to his recent pledge to support and expand adoption in our state.
This is an issue that has been driving liberals bonkers for some time now. They are further ignited by the fact that while Florida bans adoption by homosexuals, it allows homosexuals to serve as foster parents. They claim this is a discrepancy that must be resolved, and one that should be resolved in favor of the rights of homosexuals. The argument fails for the following reasons:
1. There is no discrepancy. As the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals explained in a very well reasoned and well written opinion in Lofton v. Secretary of the Dept. of Children and Family Services (via Findlaw), it is reasonable to expect different standards for foster parents and adopting parents because, guess what, foster care and adoption are two different things. One is meant to be temporary and one is meant to be permanent. Of course, the proponents of adoption by homosexuals argue that while foster care is meant to be temporary, in some cases it is not. As in the case of Lofton, the foster parent had custody of foster children for many years. So what is the solution here? Ensuring that the foster care system functions as it should and that temporary placements of children are just that, temporary. Advocates of adoption by homosexuals argue that opening adoption to homosexuals will help achieve that goal. Certainly, allowing more people to adopt would mean more adoptions. But this ignores the fact that...
2. The purpose of adoption is to advance the best interest of children, not the rights of adults. Florida law requires that adoptions meet the "best interest of the child" standard. This is why not just anyone can adopt, and as the Court explained in Lofton, why homosexuals cannot adopt. Like it or not, the foundation our state's adoption program is that there are some family structures which provide for a superior upbringing than others. Until there is undeniable proof that homosexuals are able to provide the same stable environment with consistency that is offered by the traditional family, the state cannot allow children to be adopted by homosexuals. Now you can cite all kinds of studies and examples saying just that, but the fact is that there are just as many studies and arguments on the other side, and until it is conclusive that the state's presumption is wrong, the standard must stay. To allow anything else is tantamount to subjecting Florida's children to a social experiment to determine if anti-traditional homes cause harm.
3. As a result, the solution to any alleged discrepancy between the foster care system and the adoption system in Florida is to ban homosexuals from serving as foster parents as well. The best interest of the child standard must be the centerpiece to this system and because we cannot deviate from that standard the only reasonable way to bring the foster care system and adoption system into uniformity on the issue of homosexual parents is prevent homosexuals from becoming foster parents.
This isn't about your rights. This isn't about what the government will or won't allow you to do. This is strictly about what is in the best interest of the child.
Opponents react that Florida law allows unmarried individuals to adopt, and because of this exception to the target of the traditional family that other exceptions must be allowed. This is silly, of course. The Legislature has deemed it necessary to make an exception, one that, granted, is not optimal for the child. This is where we see the balance of practicality and idealism in the system. With so many children up for adoption and not enough traditional families adopting other alternatives must be pursued. However, a line must be drawn. As the Court in Lofton observed, adoption by a single heterosexual still provides the opportunity for the child to end up in a traditional family setting. Adoption by homosexuals almost necessarily bars that opportunity. So the exception is made, and the line is drawn, with a focus on what best serves the interest of the child.
I can do nothing but completely support Governor-elect Crist's new campaign to bring a renewed effort to providing good homes for Florida's many children in need of adoption and his dedication to uphold the current standards in our adoption system. I hope that you too will stand by our state's commitment to seek out the best interest of every unadopted child and will also consider participating in that system and dedicating yourself to provide not only a good home, but a positive, traditional and moral upbringing for a child in need. As an individual who's life and family have been touched and forever changed for good by adoption I can attest that there are few more honorable causes in our world today and even fewer with such long-lasting results.