Adoption

Maggie Gallagher Just Doesn't Trust Men Who Want Children

Yesterday, Jim Burroway pointed out that professional anti-gay activists had quickly sezied on the arrest of Frank Lombard and begun "using this horrific crime as 'proof' that all gay people are unfit to be parents."

This sort of thing is to be expected from the likes of Paul Cameron, but I have to admit that I am a little surprised to see it also being made by Maggie Gallagher in this column saying that she has a deep suspicion "of men who want to get close to children while depriving them of mothers":

Adoptions are government acts. What did his fellow social workers who approved this adoption know? What did they overlook? What questions didn't they ask because, well, he was "in the club" -- one of them?

Adoption is the way we strip a child of his or her natural protection -- his mom and dad -- and the government steps in to give this baby a new and better father or mother. Preferably both, I say. But I'm old-fashioned.

I have a bias in favor of mothers. I have a suspicion (let me be frank -- I'm not proud, but it's true) of men who want to get close to children while depriving them of mothers. Yes, let me be politically incorrect: On the whole I would prefer two mothers to none at all for a child.

How do children do who are raised by only fathers? Not that well, actually -- on average, I hasten to add.

Maybe gender doesn't matter at all. But maybe it does. Are we allowed to ask? To wonder?

Yes, I know, women fail babies too. But I would be happier if children were not deliberately deprived of mothers by other adults in their lives.

Gallagher proceeds to tie the issue to Michael Jackson, while seemingly fully aware that her questions are bound to generate controversy but vowing not to be silenced:

I'm old-fashioned. Biased, even, but I already admitted that. I think fathers are immensely important to children -- unless and until the fathers indicate they do not want a mother in their child's life. Then I revert to an old-fashioned, even primitive, instinct: Babies ought to have mothers.

Will anyone run this column? Are we allowed to ask the question, "How in the world did this happen?" Could it be that the social work profession, committed to gay rights and family diversity, did not look very hard at Frank Lombard -- did not look beyond class and race and orientation to see if anything was amiss?

I do not know what went wrong in this instance. I do know that we should not let fear of homophobia prevent us from at least acknowledging the facts and asking questions.

Good News: "Baby Girl C." Can Stay With Her Parents

Back in January I wrote a post about Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess, who had had the 2-year-old girl who had been in their foster care since she was born in December 2007 removed from their home by Fayette County Circuit Judge Paul Blake, who had ruled that the state's Department of Health and Human Resources had failed to seek a "traditional family-like setting with a mother and father."

Blake ordered the child removed and the DHHR placed her in a second foster home and Kutil and Hess sued.  Today the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in their favor:

By means of this original jurisdiction action, Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Petitioners”) seek a writ of prohibition to bar enforcement of the November 21, 2008, order (See footnote 1) of the Circuit Court of Fayette County. Petitioners specifically are seeking to prevent the female infant, Baby Girl C. (hereinafter “B.G.C.”), (See footnote 2) from being removed from their foster home. B.G.C. was placed in Petitioners' home as a foster child by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (hereinafter “DHHR”) (See footnote 3) shortly after the child's birth. Petitioners are a same sex couple whose home had been approved by DHHR for both foster care and adoption. The removal of the infant was ordered at the conclusion of an abuse and neglect permanency hearing at which the lower court accepted the recommendation that B.G.C.'s case be transferred to the adoption unit of DHHR. In its removal order, the lower court directed that B.G.C. be moved from her temporary foster home and placed in a household interested in adoption that is a “traditional family” having a mother and a father rather than a household headed by a same sex couple or single person.

...

Summary

Central to our deliberation in this case is the reason or motivation underlying Respondent's decision to remove a child from her foster care home. The motion to remove the child was not supported by any allegation that B.G.C. was receiving improper or unwise care and management in her foster home, or that she was being subjected to any other legally recognized undesirable condition or influence. W.Va. Code § 49-2-12 (1970) (Repl. Vol. 2004); see also W.Va. Code § 49-2-14 (2002) (Repl. Vol. 2004) (criteria and procedure for removal of child from foster home). Likewise, no evidence supporting a legal reason for removing the child was presented at the hearings. As a matter of fact, the court was never presented with any actual evaluation of the home or evidence of the quality of the relationship B.G.C. had with Petitioners. Moreover, Respondent deferred hearing testimony from Petitioners' witnesses regarding their parenting abilities. Nevertheless, there also was no indication that Petitioners provided B.G.C. with anything other than a loving and nurturing home. As Respondent observed from the bench at the November 21 hearing, “there has been absolutely no allegation that these women have not cared for [B.G.C.] or the other kids and, in fact, all of the evidence indicates that they have done very well and have provided very well for the children.” Without any information that the foster care placement with Petitioners was not proceeding well, there was no legal reason for the court to remove B.G.C. from the only home she has known.

It is more than apparent that the only reason why Petitioners were being replaced as foster care providers was to promote the adoption of B.G.C. by what Respondent called in his November 12, 2008, order a “traditionally defined family, that is, a family consisting of both a mother and a father.” It was only by addressing issues he anticipated would develop and believed would be problems at a later point in this case that Respondent was even able to reach the subject of this conclusion. The conclusion itself thus represents a blurring of legal principles applicable to abuse and neglect and adoption. Moreover, even if our current statutes, rules and regulations could somehow be read to support the adoption preference proposed by Respondent, such a newfound principle would need to be harmonized with established law. Under our current law which encourages adoption by qualified foster parents, one of the Petitioners seeking to adopt B.G.C. individually would at the very least need to be considered if not favored in the selection of the prospective adoptive home. (See footnote 22)

In the present case, all indications thus far are that B.G.C. has formed a close emotional bond and nurturing relationship with her foster parents, which can not be trivialized or ignored. State ex rel. Treadway v. McCoy; In re Jonathan G. As such, it serves as a classic example of a case in which the permanency plan for adoption should move quickly to the desired result of a permanent home for B.G.C. One of the Petitioners who has already adopted a child (See footnote 23) and appreciates the tremendous responsibility adoption entails, has recently expressed the desire to adopt B.G.C. Clearly, that Petitioner should not be excluded from consideration for the reason stated by Respondent. These factors all should serve to facilitate the selection process, which needs to be completed as expeditiously as possible in order to further the best interests of B.G.C. and in recognition and support of the parenting investment which has been made.

IV. Conclusion

For the reasons stated in this opinion, the writ of prohibition sought by Petitioners is granted.

People for American Way Foundation filed an amicus brief in this case, along with the ACLU and the ACLU of West Virginia.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Ann Coulter: clever and classy as always.
  • Roy Moore is running for Governor of Alabama because "We cannot and will not allow activist judges from California and Massachusetts to push their own immoral opinions on the people of this state."
  • The ACLJ is stepping in to defend those arrested while protesting President Obama's speech at Notre Dame.
  • You know who is really responsible for George Tiller's murder? Kathleen Sebelius.
  • The Florida Supreme Court has rejected Liberty Counsel's request to throw out the Florida Bar's friend-of-the-court brief against the state's ban on gay adoption.
  • I always thought the National Organization for Marriage was dedicated solely to fighting efforts to grant marriage equality.  Apparently not.

Right Wing Round-Up

  • The Senate Guru takes a look back the disastrous first 100 days of Michael Steele's tenure as Chairman of the RNC.
  • Dan Gilgoff says that Carrie Prejean might not be the best spokesperson for the anti-marriage effort considering that she "can't answer basic questions about whether she supports gay civil unions or gay adoption."
  • Scott_NC over at Pam's notes that "over that 3 year period of time, people donated $1,025,894 [to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy] – and Maggie [Gallagher] put $345,333 (33%) straight into her own pocketbook."
  • Joseph DiNorcia Jr, of SIECUS says Tony Perkins and Wendy Wright have "forfeited their credibility and any claim they once had to being part of the debate" due to their claims that the timing of the swine flu was designed to help confirm Kathleen Sebelius.
  • As BarbinMD says, you know that the world has turned on its axis when you have a "conservative, southern senator, admitting that his entire party is tainted and calling half of his fellow-conservatives ridiculous."
  • Good as You posts some "highlights" from the recent right-wing anti-hate crimes press conference.
  • Finally, Tips-Q catches the Alliance Defense Fund going through a lot of trouble to cover up the simple fact that they made a typo, though ADF has now admitted as much and corrected it.

For The Right, Equality is the "Greatest Threat to our Liberty That We Face Today - Bar None"

Though it doesn't mention today's Iowa Supreme Court ruling, I expect that we'll only be seeing more articles like this one from the Baptist Press in the coming weeks warning that equality for gays is on a collision course with religious liberty in which Religious Right activists warn their supporters that, in the not too distant future, Christian churches are going to have their tax-exempt status revoked and that Christians as a groups are going to be turned into pariahs on par with racists unless they stand up and fight back:

"Whenever you have same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions, you end up having a clash between the same-sex agenda and freedom of religion (said Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel). The two are not compatible, because the same-sex agenda seeks to force by law acceptance of its view, and that will inevitably collide with Christian values.... People really need to wake up, because this, I think, is the greatest threat to our liberty that we face today -- bar none."

Jordan Lorence, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, agreed.

"This is not a made-up threat," Lorence told BP. "This is not some sort of concocted Chicken Little cry. These are actual cases, and as those supporters of same-sex marriage get more and more bold, we'll see more action to punish and silence us."

...

Down the road, the tax-exempt status of churches could be challenged as homosexuality and "sexual orientation" increasingly are placed alongside race in anti-discrimination laws. The goal of homosexual activists, Staver said, is to transform society so much that it views opponents of "gay marriage" in the same light it views racists.

"That's the agenda. It's always been the agenda," Staver said. "There is no question that if same-sex marriage becomes legal, that churches eventually will have their tax-exempt status threatened -- no question whatsoever. If churches today discriminate against race, they would not be able to have tax-exempt status today. If churches discriminate on the basis of same-sex marriage -- if it became legal -- then same-sex marriage becomes the equivalent of race, and churches would not be able to have tax-exempt status if they oppose same-sex marriage."

If Staver's prediction comes true, it could impact everything from adoption agencies to Christian school accreditation to licensing for professional counselors, Lorence said. It even could impact church plants who wish to use or rent a public facility.

"The coercive aspect of this cannot be overstated, in my opinion," Lorence said.

Fresh Off White House Call, Wright Decries "Abortion Holocaust"

Yesterday, Dan Gilgoff reported that the"White House will kick off its much-discussed plan to reduce abortions tomorrow morning with a conference call to religious leaders and abortion-rights advocates that will feature key White House aides. The call reflects the White House plan to bring faith-based groups, including conservative ones, together with pro-abortion rights organizations to reduce demand for abortion."

The call took place this morning and Gilgoff offers this follow-up of what it entailed:

Led by President Obama's chief domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, the White House announced that it would sponsor a series of meetings in coming months in search of common ground on abortion reduction. The meetings would include both supporters and opponents of abortion rights.

"Barnes said that the White House was not going to try to change anybody's mind on abortion and that she knew people had long-held convictions on various sides of the debate," one participant on the call, an abortion-rights foe, tells me. "But she said her assignment from the president was to seek common ground to prevent unintended pregnancies, including teen pregnancy; to reduce the need for abortions; and to support families for whom economic concerns were an issue. They also talked about promoting adoption."

Lifenews talked to Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, who participated in the call and once again reiterated the point that we have been making all along - namely, that it is rather difficult to find ways to "reduce the need for abortion” by seeking common ground with groups that refuse to recognize that any such need exists:.

The Obama staffers want future meetings with people on both sides of the abortion debate and for them to bring concrete ideas on reducing abortions and that they will assimilate the information into a plan that the administration will present in two to three months, Wright explained.

"They are looking for ideas for legislation, and policies for the 2011 budget. They're interested in what has worked on a community level. They want to find common areas," Wright told LifeNews.com.

The goals of the plan will be to "support families through maternal and child health, and adoption" and "reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion."

Wright says the qualifiers "need" and "unintended" are "completely subjective."

Whether the Obama administration plan will feature realistic ways to cut abortions or merely mirror the Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion agenda is a real question, Wright says.

“They have their work cut out for them in gaining trust from all the stakeholders since the primary people in charge come from the most hard-core abortion groups in the U.S. and the stated goals come straight from those abortion groups’ handbooks," she said after the call.

"To be diverse it’s imperative that they include pro-life leaders in the black community, a group that has been hardest hit by the abortion holocaust," Wright concludes.

Iowa Marriage Ruling: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Obviously, the Iowa Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional is a pretty big deal ... a big enough deal, in fact, that it seems to have crashed the court's website as people try to access the decision.

Fortunately, Pam has grabbed and posted a PDF of the ruling and so we wanted to highlight this good section of the ruling in which the court lays out clearly and firmly the basic difference between religious and civil marriage and notes that granting equality in the latter in no way undermines or denigrates the former:

This contrast of opinions in our society largely explains the absence of any religion-based rationale to test the constitutionality of Iowa’s same-sex marriage ban. Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring government avoids them ... The statute at issue in this case does not prescribe a definition of marriage for religious institutions. Instead, the statute declares, “Marriage is a civil contract” and then regulates that civil contract. Thus, in pursuing our task in this case, we proceed as civil judges, far removed from the theological debate of religious clerics, and focus only on the concept of civil marriage and the state licensing system that identifies a limited class of persons entitled to secular rights and benefits associated with civil marriage.

We, of course, have a constitutional mandate to protect the free exercise of religion in Iowa, which includes the freedom of a religious organization to define marriages it solemnizes as unions between a man and a woman ... This mission to protect religious freedom is consistent with our task to prevent government from endorsing any religious view. State government can have no religious views, either directly or indirectly, expressed through its legislation ... This proposition is the essence of the separation of church and state.

As a result, civil marriage must be judged under our constitutional standards of equal protection and not under religious doctrines or the religious views of individuals. This approach does not disrespect or denigrate the religious views of many Iowans who may strongly believe in marriage as a dual-gender union, but considers, as we must, only the constitutional rights of all people, as expressed by the promise of equal protection for all. We are not permitted to do less and would damage our constitution immeasurably by trying to do more ...

In the final analysis, we give respect to the views of all Iowans on the issue of same-sex marriage—religious or otherwise—by giving respect to our constitutional principles. These principles require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected, and people can continue to associate with the religion that best reflects their views. A religious denomination can still define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage ceremony performed by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ordained or designated as a leader of the person’s religious faith does not lose its meaning as a sacrament or other religious institution.

The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past. The only difference is civil marriage will now take on a new meaning that reflects a more complete understanding of equal protection of the law. This result is what our constitution requires.

Now for the bad - the ruling just came down and already we are seeing conservative critics pitching a fit, calling the decision "69 pages of blather" and "gobbledygook" written by "judicial knaves who proudly regard themselves as trailblazers" and will only see more of this sort of outrage as the day progresses ... which will likely entail more ugly things like this press release from Peter LaBarbera:

Today Iowa becomes the first state not on either of the nation's two liberal coasts to impose homosexual 'marriage' or its mischievous twin, 'civil unions,' on its citizens through judicial tyranny. To call this decision bankrupt is to understate its perniciousness. The evil genius of the pro-sodomy movement is that it targets noble institutions like marriage and adoption in the name of 'rights,' and then perverts them to normalize aberrant behaviors.

Homosexual 'marriage' is wrong because homosexual behavior itself is wrong and destructive -- as proved by its role in the early deaths of countless 'gay' men ... When the courts order society to effectively pretend that changeable sexual misbehavior is a 'civil right,' the law itself becomes perverted by punishing people of faith for their proper opposition toward deviant sex ... It is high time for pastors, in Iowa and across the land, to shake off their stifling, politically correct timidity and again become the prophetic voices for Truth they were called to be: by boldly warning Americans about the perils of our growing accommodation with the sins of proud homosexuality, and sex outside marriage in general.

Liberty Counsel: Protecting Christian Children From Their Lesbian Mothers

Jeremy highlights this absurd article from WorldNetDaily about "a lesbian [who] is demanding custody of a Christian woman's daughter in a case that could strong-arm Florida into recognizing out-of-state adoptions by same-sex couples" and does a good job of tearing it apart by noting that the women in question were registered as domestic partners in Washington and that the non-birth mother adopted the child and was listed her as a second parent.

The women eventually moved to Florida and split up, and the birth mother "left her homosexual lifestyle, became a Christian and is engaged to marry a man" and is therefore no longer willing to to grant her former partner visitation rights to their daughter.

The adoptive mother is understandably suing and, predictably, the Liberty Counsel is representing the other mother and claiming the "state of Washington cannot rewrite Florida adoption law and commandeer the state to enforce its contrary policy."

The Liberty Counsel seems to have become the organization of choice for mothers who find Christianity and then wish to deny their former partners access to their children.  LC represented Lisa Miller in her fight against Janet Jenkins and today announced that it was representing yet another mother in a similar situation:

N.B. is the biological mother of a nine-year-old girl. At the time of her daughter’s birth, she was in a same-sex relationship in California. Well after the relationship ended, the former partner sued, and a California court declared her a “de facto” parent, granting A.K. visitation rights.

In the meantime, N.B. moved to Alabama with the child and eventually married a man. She filed a parentage action at the Alabama trial court, which ruled that A.K. had no parental rights cognizable in Alabama. A.K. then challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the parentage action. The Alabama Court of Appeals agreed with A.K., concluding that Alabama lacked jurisdiction to entertain the parentage action and thus reinstating A.K.’s parental rights. The Court of Appeals denied a petition for rehearing. Liberty Counsel was then retained to represent N.B. and filed the petition for certiorari to the Alabama Supreme Court to reverse the appellate court’s ruling, which was just granted this week.

LC's Mat Staver declares that it is important to fight to deny gay parents right to see their children because those who are pressing the "same-sex marriage agenda are trying to use the back door to accomplish what they cannot through the front door. You cannot do an end run around a state’s marriage policy when that policy clearly affirms marriage between one man and one woman.”

But apparently, what you can do is find Christ and flee to a different state with your child in order to deny your former partner and said child's parent access and then contact the Liberty Counsel, which will come rushing to your defense in the name of protecting the sanctity of marriage and the well-being of families.

Disgraceful.

RWWIF: The Right Re-Tools as a 'Resistance Movement'

Our latest Right Wing Watch In Focus is now posted, explaining how, since Barack Obama's election, the Right has re-launched itself as a "resistance movement":

The failure of right-wing leaders to coalesce behind a presidential candidate early in 2008 led some pundits to write, yet again, an obituary for the political influence of the religious and political right. But the movement maintained enough strength within the Republican Party to keep John McCain from choosing his preferred running mate and used the nomination of Sarah Palin as a way to energize its base. It also was able to exercise significant political muscle in state-wide ballot initiatives banning marriage equality in California, Arizona, and Florida and outlawing adoption by gay people in Arkansas.

Now that the Religious Right and the Republican Party are regrouping from significant electoral defeats, many progressives as well as pundits are tempted once again to dismiss the movement or the continued threat it poses to the constitutional principles of equality, privacy, and separation of church and state. But the legal, political, grassroots, and media infrastructure that has been built steadily over recent decades is still largely in place. It maintains a powerful ability to shape public debate and mobilize millions of Americans. And it is finding a renewed focus in opposing the Obama administration and obstructing progressive change.

Read the whole thing.
 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Harry Jackson will be leading an anti-Sebelius rally next week linked to the 30th Annual Maryland March for Life.
  • Speaking of Sebelius, Catholic Advocate, which was just at the center of a controversy for questioning the Catholic commitments of several Democratic lawmakers, has unveiled Catholics Against Kathleen Sebelius.
  • The Washington Times tries to figure out who will become the next James Dobson.  The name that keeps popping up? Rick Warren.
  • Mike Huckabee will be heading to South Carolina in April to make an appearance at a rally for the Fair Tax.
  • The Family Research Council has announced promotions for Tom McClusky and Connie Mackey.
  • The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission targets the SPLC for categorizing various Religious Right groups as "hate groups."
  • Finally, the Liberty Counsel has filed its brief in the Florida adoption case, saying the "ban adoption by homosexuals" is necessary "because the best interest of children is served by placing them in homes with a mom and a dad or where there is a likelihood of a mom and a dad." I have no idea what the "likelihood of a mom and a dad" could possibly mean.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Like pretty much every Republican before him, Michael Steele is pledging to turn around the GOP's dismal showing when it comes to getting votes from African Americans.
  • The easy applause line at CPAC was to attack "socialism."
  • As it has been threatening, on Friday the Liberty Counsel filed suit to force the Florida Bar to remain neutral in the case regarding the state's ban on adoption by gay couples.
  • At CPAC, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty called upon those in attendance to ensure that God remains at the “forefront of the values, principles and issues” of the conservative movement.
  • The New York Times reports that a new video and other incidents are reviving questions about the role that religion is playing in the military and whether a pro-Christian culture permeates the armed forces.
  • When life gives you Buttars, turn it into "Buttars-Palooza."
  • Kevin "Musclehead Revolution" McCullough tries to goad Rachel Maddow into covering him by explicitly comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
  • Finally, the Washington Post's "On Faith"blog interviewed Liberty University basketball coach Ritchie McKay and asked if he'd ever considered recruiting a player who was an atheist, to which he replied with this non sequitur:
  • I don't think Dr. Falwell would have ever excluded anyone from attending his university, and I don't think it would bother me if [the player] didn't have the same beliefs as me. Now, if he was practicing some type of illegal or immoral or unethical behavior, then he can't be a member of our team.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • California State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, one of Proposition 8's strongest supporters, has maneuvered his way into the leadership of the Republican caucus after state Senator Dave Cogdill was ousted for his support of last week's budget deal.
  • The Christian Anti-Defamation Commission proclaims that Hollywood has declared war on God and that "to say that God loves everyone regardless of their willful, sinful rebellion is blasphemous."
  • The Arkansas Times profiles Jerry Cox, executive director of the Arkansas Family Council, and his role in helping to pass the state's anti-gay adoption measure last November.
  • Tom Tancredo says that Gov. Bobby Jindal's presidential aspirations are over and that Grover Norquist ought to be in jail.
  • Finally, among the individuals Fl. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed to the state's census panel is Dennis Baxley, director of the Christian Coalition of Florida.

Right Wing Round-Up

Today's best reporting on the Right from around the web:

  • Media Matters and News Hounds take on the Fox News and Neil Cavuto for continuing to spread lies about the stimulus bill.
  • Pam's House Blend discovers that the American Family Association's "Speechless … Silencing the Christians" is set to air on local television in Grand Rapids, MI tonight.
  • The Florida Bar Association has come out in support of the ruling that the state's ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional and the Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver is not happy, Good as You reports.
  • Via Tips-Q, we get this piece on an Americans for Truth led protest in Ohio:

    Our neighborhood in old Worthington is a close-knit, tolerant and faithful community. So it was shocking this morning on the drive home from grade-school wrestling practice, to see a small group of protesters lined up outside of the Holiday Inn on Wilson Bridge Road waving “God Hates Fags” signs ...

    “Is it a homo paper?” asked a scruffy 50+ man who spoke broken English with an Appalachain twang. In one hand he waved a large sign with the anagram “Gross Anus Yearning Sodomists” (whatever in the world that means) and in the other, he had two naked Ken dolls taped together in the position commonly referred to as “doggy style” ...

    None of the protesters were guests at the hotel. None of them live in the Columbus metro area. They were picketing on behalf of the a national right-wing extremist group calling itself "Americans for Truth."

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Gary Bauer calls on "pro-lifers [to] help Americans discern Obama’s abortion extremism, [so] they can help minimize the destruction of innocent human life that this administration is dedicated to inflicting."
  • A hearing on anti-discrimination legislation in North Dakota generated this quote from the director of the state’s chapter of Concerned Women for America: "[the bill is] a giant step toward the adoption of policies that discriminate against people with traditional views of morality. This law would not protect rights, but would rather grant special privileges based strictly on someone's sexual behavior. Further, those privileges would have a significant impact on the constitutional rights of North Dakotans who may have a moral objection to certain sexual behaviors."
  • The director of Cornerstone Policy Research in New Hampshire says his group has "partnered with several national groups — including the American Family Association and Focus on the Family — to fund anti-gay-marriage spots that could air on radio and television stations in about a month."
  • Why is German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking out about the Pope’s decision to make nice with a Holocaust-denier?  Because, according to Bill Donohue, she and all Germans are "reeking with guilt over the Holocaust."
  • Roy Moore joins the chorus of those freaking out about President Obama mentioning non-believers and other religions in his Inaugural Address, proclaiming: "To state that this is a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation, or a nation of nonbelievers is to deny that God is the grantor of religious freedom. It is also a denigration of the Christian faith to just another religion."
  • Finally, the Family Research Council's Krystle Weeks complains that crosses used in an antiabortion demonstration at George Washington University were defaced last week and that while "the media wants to fawn all over Barack Obama and his administration … they would rather ignore a story that violates the freedom of speech and religion." She then links to this Washington Post article about it … which rather undermines her claim that the media is ignoring this incident, don’t you think?

Destroying Families to Protect "Family Values"

Last month the West Virginia Supreme Court agreed to hear a case stemming from a judge's order that an infant be removed from the same-sex foster parents who had cared for her since birth and placed with "traditional" family:

In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the court agreed to hear the appeal of Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess to a November ruling by Fayette County Circuit Judge Paul Blake ... Blake issued his ruling after Kutil and Hess sought to adopt a 2-year-old girl who had been in their foster care since she was born in December 2007.

The Department of Health and Human Resources placed the girl, who was born to a drug-addicted mother and was suffering from withdrawal, with the Oak Hill couple on Christmas Eve that year.

...

After Blake terminated the mother's parental rights last month and the father could not be located, the DHHR moved to permanently place the girl and allow Kutil and Hess adopt her.

Fayetteville lawyer Thomas Fast filed a motion Jan. 24 to remove the child because it had been placed in a "homosexual household," according to documents filed with the Supreme Court. In a Nov. 12 order, the judge ruled the DHHR had failed to seek a "traditional most family-like setting with a mother and father" after placement with the birth family failed ... Blake ordered the child removed, and the DHHR placed her in a second foster home. The Supreme Court ordered her returned to Kutil and Hess.

And, of course, Religious Right groups have gotten involved ... and guess which side they are on:

A family rights group wants to stop a same-sex couple from adopting a child they have kept in foster care since birth ... The Family Policy Council of West Virginia filed an amicus curiae Jan. 20 that argues abused and neglected children should be placed "on a par with natural children."

...

An adoption plan forwarded by the DHHR suggested both Kutil and Hess, as an unmarried cohabiting couple, would be preferred as adoptive parents.

That is contrary to state code, which allows for adoption by a married couple or a single person, according to a brief submitted by Thomas K. Fast, an attorney representing the child in this litigation.

...

"There's no legitimate reason to invent exceptions to this law," said Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel Brian Raum. That group works in tandum with the Family Policy Council on legal and public policy issues.

The Family Policy Council advocates public policy that continues the tradition of married mother-father adoption.

According to Jeremiah Dys, president and general counsel for the group, the group agrees with both sides' experts that the "ideal situation is to put the child in a home with a mom and a dad."

So apparently, were either Kutil or Hess single, they would have been allowed to adopt this child, but since they are a couple, they can't and so right-wing groups have decided to weigh in and try to get the child removed from their home altogether.

I see this sort of thing all the time, but it never fails to amaze me how willing right-wing advocates are to destroy families in the name of protecting "family values."

The Less Things Change

Last week we noted that Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church had tapped a new pastor to replace the late D. James Kennedy who appeared intent on modernizing the church and removing it from the political and culture wars.  

But just because change might be coming to the church doesn’t seem to mean that any sort of similar change will be coming to its political arm, Coral Ridge Ministries:  

Many traditional marriage supporters have been taken aback by the pro-gay rights tone the Whitehouse.gov website has taken for its "Civil Rights" agenda, which supports the expansion of hate crimes statutes, discrimination employment laws that would grant special protections to the LBGT community, gay civil unions, gay couples' adoption rights and the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy.

Coral Ridge Ministries, a Christian media organization, also sent out an e-mail alert over the weekend stating, "Our new president wants to force Americans to accept homosexuality in the workplace and in the military."

"Right now, the President has the political wind at his back. Most in the media and Congress are cheering for him and his agenda to succeed," the ministry added. "That means he most likely will unless men and women of moral conviction and courage stand up and say 'No!'"

The email from Coral Ridge Ministries can be found here:

“It’s only the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, but he just announced his aggressive plan to force Americans to accept homosexuality.

His just-revealed gay rights agenda, posted on the http://whitehouse.gov website, is a dream come true for the homosexual lobby. Our new president wants to force Americans to accept homosexuality in the workplace and in the military. Plus, he will push hard to pass hate crimes legislation and give marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

Here’s a short list of what our new president wants to do:

- Pass hate crimes legislation that will criminalize opposition to homosexuality.
- Allow homosexuals to enter into civil unions, which will 'give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples.'
- Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
- Oppose a federal constitutional amendment to limit marriage to a man and a woman.
- Repeal federal law to allow open homosexuals to serve in the U.S. military.
- Give homosexual couples the right to adopt young children.
- Fight AIDS with sex education, condoms, and needle-exchange programs.

Right now, the President has the political wind at his back. Most in the media and Congress are cheering for him and his agenda to succeed. That means he most likely will unless men and women of moral conviction and courage stand up and say 'No!'..."

In the Best Interest of the Children

One of the central tenets of family law has always been finding solutions to contentious issues that protect the best interest of children involved in such disputes.

For instance, when a Florida judge recently ruled that the state's ban on gay people adopting children was unconstitutional, it allowed two brothers to stay with the couple that had cared for them for over four years and officially become a family:

The ruling means that Martin Gill, 47, and his male partner can adopt two brothers, ages 4 and 8, whom he has cared for as foster children since December 2004.

"I've never seen myself as less than anybody else," Gill said. "We're very grateful. Today, I've cried the first tears of joy in my life." 

Of course, the Religious Right doesn't see it that way, which is why they'd prefer to see the boys ripped away from the fathers and presumably placed back into foster care:

A group of conservative preachers representing the Christian Coalition said they support removing adopted children of gay parents from stable homes, rather than let a ruling stand that overturns the Florida’s anti-gay adoption law ... When asked whether the group supported removing Gill’s children from his home, [Rev. Paul Carbalho] said that he would support placing them in the homes of straight parents regardless of the fact that Lederman and eight expert witnesses from across the nation agreed that it was in the children’s best interest to remain with Gill.

Increasing Adoptions By Limiting the Pool

The AP reports that a ballot initiative preventing “gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall's ballot in Arkansas”:

The measure would prohibit unmarried couples living together from fostering or adopting children, and Arkansas doesn't allow gays to marry or recognize gay marriages conducted elsewhere.

"Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers," Family Council President Jerry Cox said. "We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible."

You’d think that banning willing gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents would only end up shrinking the pool of those willing to raise these children in need, but you’d be wrong – according to the Family Council Action Committee, putting this on the ballot will amazingly result in even more foster and adoptive parents:

[T]he campaign to pass this act is designed to increase the number of families willing to adopt or serve as foster parents. By circulating petitions in churches and elsewhere, we will spend the next several months highlighting the need for more foster and adoptive homes. We’ve published a book entitled, Adoption and Foster Care in Arkansas. Volunteers in this campaign will not only be circulating petitions, but they will be encouraging families to consider adopting a child or becoming a foster parent. Overall, we expect this effort to increase the number of foster care and adoptive homes in Arkansas.

Presumably, the Family Council thinks that “traditional” couples will suddenly start clamoring to take these children once they’ve ensured that they gays can’t have them.  And, if not, it’s just as well that the kids remain safely in the care of the state rather than being “used to promote the social or political agenda of any special interest group.” 

 In short, the effort nails the trifecta:

This act protects the welfare of children, it blunts a homosexual agenda, and it encourages more people to adopt children or serve as foster parents. That’s what this act does. Anyone who tries to tell you anything less isn’t telling the whole story.

The New Evangelicals: Like The Right, Only Broader

Back during the heyday of Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign, the candidate was being hailed as a “new breed” of evangelical, one who cared about issues like poverty and the environment in addition to traditional right-wing opposition to gays and abortion.  As we have noted before, one of the key mis-perceptions about this so-called new movement is that its purported concern about issues beyond the standard Religious Right agenda does not mean that they are any more moderate on the core anti-gay, anti-abortion agenda that has driven the movement for the last several decades. 

Heading into his faith forum over the weekend, Rick Warren was poised to emerge as the poster boy for this “new evangelical” movement – as Time Magazine put it:

A shift away from "sin issues" — like abortion and gay marriage — is reflected in Warren's approach to his coming sit-downs with the candidates. He says he is more interested in questions that he feels are "uniting," such as "poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights," and still more in civics-class topics like the candidates' understanding of the role of the Constitution. There will be no "Christian religion test," Warren insists. "I want what's good for everybody, not just what's good for me. Who's the best for the nation right now?"

McCain Wins Praise From FRC For Gay Adoption Stance

After getting blasted for backtracking on his opposition to gay adoption, FRC is now praising McCain's muddled commitment to family values: "We applaud the Arizona Senator for his support of traditional families, which study upon study affirms as the best environment for raising children. I hope this is only the beginning of a longer, more pointed dialogue about pro-family policies by the GOP's presidential nominee."
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Adoption Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 04/06/2011, 5:44pm
PFAW: Glenn Beck Leaves Fox to Spend More Time with his Chalkboard. Truth Wins Out: TWO Calls On The Republican Party to Denounce The American Family Association After Racist Rant By AFA Radio Host Bryan Fischer. Towleroad: Judge Vaughn Walker Says He is Gay for First Time Publicly, Says Judges Should Never Recuse Themselves Over Sexuality. Lee Fang @ Think Progress: Bristol Palin Responds: Legally Required Nonprofit Disclosure Part Of An Anti-Palin Conspiracy. Andy Birkey @ Minnesota Independent: Herman Cain slams Ellison, says he supports Sharia law. Zack Ford... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 04/04/2011, 5:42pm
Josh Harkinson @ Mother Jones: The Religious Right's Anti-Union Crusade. Matt Algren: LaBarbera's Truth Academy Fails Spectacularly. Again. Alvin McEwen: Family Research Council accidentally admits truth about hate group charges. Towleroad: Peter Sprigg Claims FRC Is Not A Hate Group. Joe.My.God: Mandatory Gay Adoption! Julie Sunday @ RH Reality Check: Texas to Consider "Traditional Values Centers" at State Universities. Terry Krepel @ County Fair: Pat Robertson Backs Ivory Coast Leader -- Whose Family “Guarantee[s]” Robertson’s... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 03/29/2011, 10:43am
Tea Party Nation is a major (for-profit) Tea Party organization that gained prominence after its convention last year hosted Republican leaders like Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo, along with Religious Right figures Roy Moore and Rick Scarborough. TPN’s President Judson Phillips previously denounced the “Marxist” Methodist Church and suggested that President Obama’s campaign was funded by Hamas and China. This morning, Tea Party Nation sent out an email to its members with the headline “Destroy the Family, You Destroy the Country!” from an article by Dr. Rich... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 03/01/2011, 11:09am
Last week, a group of anti-choice activsts sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders declaring tha that "defunding Planned Parenthood must be a non-negotiable in the Continuing Resolution and we urge you to accept nothing less than this outcome." That letter apparently didn't have much influence on Boehner, as just a few days later he admitted that Republicans have no intention of insisting that the provision to defund Planned Parenthood remain in the Continuing Resolution if that means shutting down the government. But Religious Right anti-choice activists... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/31/2011, 6:48pm
PFAW: Federal Judge Strikes Down Health Care Reform Legislation.   Brian Beutler @ TPM: Heavy Hitters Rip Florida Federal Judge's Opinion Striking Health Care Law.   Sarah Posner @ Relgion Dispatches: The Roots of the American Right’s Muslim Brotherhood Panic.   Good As You: CWA To Put Anti-Gay Ad In NH Newspaper.   Steve Benen: Coming to Terms With a Misguided Base.   Alan Colmes: Sharron Angle Now Sharing “Beauty And Makeup Challenges.”   Joe.My.God: Florida House... MORE
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 01/31/2011, 6:48pm
PFAW: Federal Judge Strikes Down Health Care Reform Legislation.   Brian Beutler @ TPM: Heavy Hitters Rip Florida Federal Judge's Opinion Striking Health Care Law.   Sarah Posner @ Relgion Dispatches: The Roots of the American Right’s Muslim Brotherhood Panic.   Good As You: CWA To Put Anti-Gay Ad In NH Newspaper.   Steve Benen: Coming to Terms With a Misguided Base.   Alan Colmes: Sharron Angle Now Sharing “Beauty And Makeup Challenges.”   Joe.My.God: Florida House... MORE
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/25/2011, 10:59am
Michele Bachmann SOTU: Plans to give her own State of the Union Response to a Tea Party Express rally, even though Wisconsin Rep. Jim Ryan is the official Republican speaker (Star Tribune, 1/24). History: Maintains that skin color didn’t matter in early America at an Iowans for Tax Reform event (TPM, 1/24). Religious Right: Addressed the “March for Life” Rose Dinner (Politico, 1/24). Iowa: “Encouraged” by reception at Iowa events (Des Moines Register, 1/22). Religious Right: Set to attend a meeting of Iowa’s The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats... MORE