Wednesday, May 04, 2011

2 gay dads, 12 happy kids, and the "family values" politicians who legislate against them for political gain

This past Sunday there was a huge and very in-depth article in the Arizona Republic about two gay Arizona men, Steven and Roger Ham, raising 12 children, all adopted from foster care here in Arizona. The article is truly amazing in its extremely detailed telling of this remarkable family and the two saintly men who've profoundly changed 12 childrens' lives. And that it is a gay couple, in Arizona, dedicating their lives to being loving dads and giving 12 beautiful children, that nobody else wanted, a loving and stable home, in a state that is hostile territory for anyone who is not straight, is remarkable in and of itself, but that isn't all these two wonderful men have done:

State child-welfare officials learned to trust and rely on the Hams, bringing them 42 foster children over 10 years. Some needed shelter for a few days; others stayed for months. Child caseworkers knew the men would take in any child, day or night, no questions asked, and treat them as their own. And in the Hams' home, children were never sent back for doing something wrong, and it didn't matter that they were not all the same color, or had special needs.

To their credit (this is a rightwing state with a marriage ban firmly in place after all), the Arizona Republic published this uplifting and heartwarming article. But to their discredit or maybe it was a case of extremely bad timing, the article appeared this past Sunday, May 2nd, exactly 2 weeks after our nasty, heartless governor, Jan Brewer, decided that she could use another boost in the polls since her previous boost from signing the extremely hateful and possibly unconstitutional SB1070 on the backs of another group of unpopular people had started waning. So what's a good homophobic, rightwing governor who panders to the anti-brown people crowd, the anti-gay crowd, and the religious nuts who love to hate-in-the-name-of-God to do? Why --- pick on those icky, godless homos is always a winning strategy in this state. And if at first this state does not succeed, it tries, tries again:

Since 1997, conservative Arizona lawmakers have introduced a half-dozen bills that would keep single people, including gays and lesbians, from becoming foster parents or adopting children in the state's care, or would move married couples to the top of the waiting list for adoptions. Those attempts - one as recent as last year - failed to muster enough votes. But this year was different. On April 18, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill that gives preference to married couples in state and private adoptions, all other criteria being equal.

And if this nasty piece of legislation isn't proof enough to those unfamiliar with Arizona politics and the political opportunism of this governor, one need only read a little further into the article to realize what a hypocritical, pandering, and mean-spirited woman she really is. The article goes on to state that "in 2009, the governor gave Steven and Roger Ham an award for their efforts at keeping siblings in foster care together through adoption." Now why would a governor who just a mere 2 years earlier was awarding this wonderful gay couple for their willingness to adopt unwanted foster children now be doing everything in her power to make it next to impossible for other same-sex couples to do the same?

Well, like I said, this governor, also lovingly referred to as Governor Grim Reaper by one of our regular columnists in the Arizona Republic, never misses an opportunity to boost her own political career on the backs of unpopular minorities. And children languishing in foster care? Not even a consideration.

Ahhh our governor - gotta give her credit for one thing. She definitely fits today's prototype of a typical Republican, She has made an art form of pandering to the most vile and ignorant constituents in her base even it it hurts helpless children or unpopular minorities. She has absolutely no conscience when doing it. She is adamently opposed to big government weedling its way into our lives unless it involves a woman's uterus, a person with brown skin, or a person's right to marry who they want. She has no problems whatsoever stripping the rights and dignity of those she deems immoral, illegal, or just plain icky and then calling it God's will. And how much you wanna bet she sleeps just fine at night?

Yup, she is today's perfect Republican.

UPDATE: Here is a video:

Well Guv, I'm sure Arizona will rest a lot easier now knowing you've made it next to impossible for more foster kids to experience what these 12 lucky and well-adjusted kids have: a happy, stable home with two parents that love them unconditionally. Good job Guv.


Kim Anderson said...

Statistics show children most thrive when in a committed, married, man/woman household. Men and women contribute differently in child rearing. That's why the law gives preference to married man/woman couples. This "preference" isn't about making straight or gay couples feel good about themselves. It is about the children and what is best for them. However, with over 10,000 in AZ foster care, clearly (and sadly) there is a surplus of children seeking adoption. So gay couples are able to foster and adopt and are allowed to foster and adopt in Arizona as evidenced by this couple. This couple is doing a great job. Will they offer the absolute, most perfect and ideal situation for these But, even a married couple might not. So, while a married man/woman couple, statistically speaking, offers the best option for kids, this couple is clearly doing a wonderful job and has taken on a tremendous task to help these children. It is very commendable.

Seething Mom said...

Hi Kim, thank you for coming by and contributing to the conversation. But I must take issue with your statement: "Statistics show children most thrive when in a committed, married, man/woman household. Men and women contribute differently in child rearing."

Your "statistics" sound eerily similar to the data one can pull right from the Family Research Council or Focus on the Family websites, both organizations called out time and again, by the researchers whose studies these organizations have used and twisted in very dishonest ways to make their point that same-sex couples could not possibly raise children as well as the man/woman model these organizations desperately want to hold up as the "ideal" family. And sadly there are many other so-called "family advocate" organizations who stoop to this level of deceit to make their point as well.

So first I'd like to say that we don't live in the ideal world and families reflect this. We have children being raised by single mothers (some of them children themselves), single dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and well, you name it. Would it be great if every child could have the ideal family? Yes! But first we must admit that the ideal family can come in all different forms and shapes and to define it as one man/one woman is both dishonest and unrealistic.

I, myself was raised by a single mom (through no fault of her own) along with 4 younger brothers. She raised and supported us all by herself. And guess what? I considered my family an ideal family. We all grew up to be happy, healthy, educated, contributing members of society.

And the second point I'd like to make is this: One does not need to look far to find studies that completely debunk the statistics you cite. With a simple google search I was able to pull up several studies, one from the journal Pediatrics published in June of 2010 written by researchers Nanette Gartrell, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco (and a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles), and Henry Bos, a behavioral scientist at the University of Amsterdam, which focused on "planned lesbian families — households in which the mothers identified themselves as lesbian at the time of artificial insemination."

And guess what? "The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression."

And I found another study by the American Psychiatric Association in which
"Numerous studies have shown that the children of gay parents are as likely to be healthy and well adjusted as children raised in heterosexual households. Children raised in gay or lesbian households do not show any greater incidence of homosexuality or gender identity issues than other children."

And one last thing, many times it is the gay or lesbian couple who will adopt the child that straight couples will not. And that is a fact that cannot be ignored. And yet, if it were up to so many of these "family advocate" organizations or homophobic politicians, these children with special needs would not even be placed with gay or lesbian couples. And that, Kim, is a travesty. Just ask the children who would have been languishing in foster care if it were not for the loving gay and lesbian couples who adopted them.