Sunday, April 22, 2007

CO: gay adoption bill; surveys show many gays are parents or want to become parents


Elizabeth Perry has a story “One in three lesbians raising kids: study; Report claims majority of gay men want children,” in The Washington Blade, p. 14, April 20, 2007. The study was authored by Gary Gates of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, and Jennifer Ehrle Macomber of the Urban Institute of Washington. The study apparently comes from the 2000 United States Census, the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, and the 2004 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System.

The report maintains that one third of all lesbians are raising children, and that a majority of gay men would like to become fathers, whether by adoption or biology, including possibly insemination.

I was personally aware of a family in Dallas of two gay men and two gay women raising children.

The Williams Institute has an article by Larry Muhammad from June 2005, “Father’s day for two dads: Gay men’s children say they make good parents.” Link is here. and it does mention Mr. Gates. Reason Magazine has an article by Julian Sanchez from August/Sept 2005 “All Happy Families: The looming battle over gay parenting”, link here. The Reason article addresses the "birthright" argument (that every child deserves a mother and father as a married committed parent) as if it were a canard.

The progressive gay world was always an adult world that developed its own norms of personal responsibility and independence, often emphasizing the need to be “one’s own person” before commitment. The cultural world of families sets priorities quite a bit differently and makes a lot of unwritten and unspoken assumptions about family connectedness and loyalty, a mindset that was often rejected by the gay community in earlier days of gay liberation. When I researched my first book in the 1990s, I found a degree of interest in parenting that surprised me, including reading “Getting Simon: Two Gay Doctors’ Journey into Fatherhood” by Kenneth Morgen. Is this out of a real motive to become a father, or out of a desire to what has always been a societal expectation of men (contradicting the child's "birthright" and posing a moral conundrum), a notion that is growing stronger. In Morgen’s book, it seems to be the former.

Perry’s article mentions a bill on Colorado that would make it the eleventh state to allow same-sex couples to adopt children as couples. A few states discourage or (as with Florida) outrightly prohibit gay adoption. The article maintains that Colorado is one of four states that allows gays to adopt as singles, but I thought the number was much larger. When I lived in Minneapolis, several free newspapers and public billboards advertised for singles to adopt children.

The Blade article indicates that there are over 14000 foster children in “gay households” that would have to be placed if every state suddenly banned gay adoption. One could propose a public policy debate on whether more legally married heterosexual couples could be persuaded to adopt children.

In the 1990s, Alyson Press had created controversy with "Heather Has Two Mommies" by Leslea Newman and Diane Souza, and "Daddy's Roommate" by Michael Willhoite, both books illustrated and intended for children.

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