Mar 192002

As one woman in this country is sitting in a cell awaiting the execution of a lifetime sentence for the murder of her five children, another woman in Colorado spearheads an effort to prime the wrath of legislators to legalize the endangering of the welfare of this state’s children.

Pam Rhodes, Colorado Representative for District 31, and 17 of her Colorado House Republican cohorts have introduced a bill (HB 1356) that would essentially rob children from families of same-sex parents of stability. This discriminatory legislation would prohibit the issuing of birth certificates that included more than one parent of the same sex. Additionally, the bill would establish a block on maternity or paternity suits in child custody discrepancies between same-sex partners. These stipulations would effectively dismantle the security of innocent children by depriving them of monetary support in instances of parental separation and legal guardianship by the only the parent they’ve ever known after the death or incapacitation of a birth parent.

This bill exemplifies the strong emotional, but factually unsupported, anti-gay adoption sentiment among right-wing conservatives. Many notable and highly respected organizations, among them the Child Welfare League of America and the American Psychological Association, have issued statements that support the integrity of parenting by lesbian and gay individuals. Most recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics went on the record to assert that “children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.”

Supporters of anti-gay adoption legislation cite an upholding of family values and preservation of the “traditional” family structure as their key issues of motivation. They tout themselves as defenders of morality and avengers of licentiousness.

My concern lies in the fact that these bold predications are shrouded in vagueness and rarely addressed in terms of specifics.

In dissecting the demographics of cases involving child abuse and neglect, it is quite apparent that efforts to protect children from the “immorality” and “social detriment” of homosexual parents are misdirected and represent a gross misallocation of resources. It’s interesting to note that, as observed by a character in the movie “Parenthood,” it’s necessary to secure a license to drive, to fish, to hunt, etc. – but anyone can be a parent. It’s become a rare thing to read a daily newspaper that doesn’t document at least one instance of brutality against a child from a “traditional” family somewhere in this country. To their credit, gay and lesbian individuals, at the very least, approach parenthood with a knowing and educated intent uncommon to many uninspiring but sexually active heterosexual parents. I don’t know of a single child resulting from a same-sex relationship that was unwanted or unplanned.

For those who would condemn this bullying of our state’s children, I would encourage action to disarm the detrimental power of bill HB 1356. The House State Affairs Committee will conduct a hearing on this matter Thursday at 1:30 in room 107 of the State Capitol building. Demonstrate solidarity against this proposed legislation by attending the hearing and/or contacting representatives and members of the committee to discourage their support of this bill. For those who would support this legislation as a demonstration of distaste for homosexuality, I would urge you to reconsider the target of your ill-will.

Torment me and dedicate yourself to depriving me of my civil rights, but refrain from harming the children that represent your future.

Veronica Garcia is a senior majoring in sociology.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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