Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Best Interests of the Child

So tell me again why the children of Arkansas are better off now that there is this horribly offensive new law that makes it illegal for gays to adopt or become foster parents, because for the life of me, I just don't see it:

W.H., an infant, was reportedly removed from her parents by Arkansas’s Department of Human Services after she was taken to a hospital with injuries that strongly suggested abuse. Fortunately for W.H., her grandmother, a registered nurse, was eager to take her in. But there was a hitch. Her grandmother lives with another woman, and a ballot initiative recently passed in Arkansas makes it illegal for gay and unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt or become foster parents.


The new law is undeniably discriminatory. Under Arkansas law, people convicted of major crimes, including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, remain eligible to adopt children or become foster parents. Single people who have no partner — or who have a large number of casual sex partners — are also eligible. Anyone who is in a committed relationship, gay or straight, but is not married is automatically barred.

The new law also interferes with the Department of Human Services’ ability to do its job of making individualized assessments of prospective parents and placing children in the homes that are best able to meet their needs. As the W.H. case suggests, an unmarried couple could be the most qualified parents. And because of the shortage of foster parents, the ban is very likely to make children wait substantially longer for a loving home.

I'm sorry, but my revulsion for this kind of blatant homophobia is really getting the best of me. When I read stories like this one, I just want to vomit. The welfare of these poor children was never the pressing reason behind this law passing, but making sure that gays and lesbians suffer as much as possible was. And the poor children who will be caught up in the system as a result of this law? Well, for the homophobes, it's a small price to pay.

I most definitely have to agree with the last paragraph of this editorial:

Arkansas’s new law was a victory for the forces of bigotry and a major setback for the guiding principle of the law in adoption and foster care: the best interests of the child.

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