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December 27, 2006

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.

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Comments

So, have you, yourself adopted a child to relieve the burden and allow a child to be brought up in a traditional home with traditional values?

This is just plain silly.

When homosexual couples want to have children, unlike "breeders" who somehow accidentally end up with a kid nine months after that office party, they have to work very hard to make sure everything is perfect, everything is stable.

Not every heterosexual couple can provide a stable environment either, and I would hope that the adoption agency has stringent inspection standards. Why, then, should homosexual parents-wannabes not be allowed to go through the same vetting process?

I think it is preferable to have a child growing up with two loving parents (whether they are opposite genders or same genders) than bouncing from foster home to foster home, or just being a number at an orphanage.

If there were not enough kids to adopt, then I say go ahead, give heterosexual couples preference. In fact, I say go ahead and give them preference anyway. But even when they are done, there are still thousands of children left over. Shouldn't OUR goal as citizens be to try and put these children in good homes, even if it's not the perfect home ... since even a slightly imperfect home is far better than no home at all.

Addison, does it matter? Is this the same tired liberal logic that says if somebody has not had an abortion they can't speak about abortion? So what if G has or has not adopted? That doesn't determine if he can have an opinion on the subject.

M,

The goal is finding good homes for these children, you're right. But the method should be encouraging more good homes not lowering the standard of what defines a good home. Folks like you seem to think there are no more heterosexual couples out there willing to adopt. The effort should focus on connecting eligible families with these children in need, and that is what Crist is attempting.

Addison,

Mrs. G has commanded that we complete at least on year of marriage before we adopt and she's the boss. We are planning on adopting, though and I'll be sure to let you know when we do. Any more questions?

Ah, yes, the usual concern about the "best interest of the child" and recitation of the values of the traditional family -- so easy to call BS on it! Consider the Lofton case -- do you REALLY think that the best thing for a foster child who has been with a family from the time he was 9 weeks old until he is 11 years old is to be removed to another family? You would simply HOWL with outrage if we removed that child from one heterosexual family to another heterosexual family. Why is it suddenly ok when we remove the child from a gay family to a heterosexual family in the same circumstances?

THAT is what an out-right ban is about. It says that REGARDLESS of any other circumstances, it is ALWAYS the best result to remove that child from those gay parents.

How does that serve the best interest of the child? There has to be a judicial determination of best interest in any event in every adoption -- why not allow the courts to consider best interests when gay people seek to adopt as well as when straight people seek to adopt?

This is about your religious and/or moral objections to gay parenting, not about the best interest of children. So why don't you just say so, rather than hiding it behind these quasi-rational arguments?

I REALLY think that the best thing for a foster child is to be placed with a stable home with a mother and father as soon as possible. I'm not arguing that there aren't tremendous problems with the foster care system in our state in that children get put in a holding pattern there. Where we disagree is the solution. You think the solution is lowering the standard of what is an acceptable home. I submit that it is bringing more acceptable homes into the adoption system.

Based on what we know now, yes, it is in the best interest of children to be placed in what is currently defined as an acceptable home rather than being left in one that is not.

The courts did exactly what you are asking in Lofton, they considered the best interest standard with gay people seeking to adopt, but they decided it wasn't necessary to do a case by case review.

I find it humorous that you accuse me of advancing my religious/moral beliefs rather than arguing reason. Read the post, my argument is not based on religion or moral standards. It is based on the current status of the law and scientific review. In fact, you are the one advancing a religious/moral argument. It is your side of the debate that has failed to provide a reasonable argument that protects the best interest of children. and instead hides behind a hollow "moral" objection. That is why your side failed in Lofton and continues to fail in rational argument on the subject.

Actually you say there are studies against homosexual families and actually that is not very true. Very few studies have found reasons against those types of families. You say traditional families are the best way to go? What is a traditional family. That can be greatly argued in this day and age. The reality is if a child is in a safe home and is loved they have just as great of a chance to grow up (Normal), if you will then in (traditional) family.

I am totally agree. In the adoption, the benefit of the child should be a priority!!..I would like to know who was the author, I am writing a paper about this issue and I need the author's name in order to cite this website.
Thanks

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