Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Star Examines Double Standard In Adoption Debate

The Morgan Co. lesbian couple whose adoption of an infant girl for whom they served as foster parents triggered a major legal battle finds incongruity in the state's position that they are good enough to be foster parents but not good enough to be adoptive parents. The Star's Tim Evans looks at the hypocrisy of the policy:

Gay-rights advocates see a troubling double standard: If they are OK to take care of children from families torn apart by drugs, crime, abuse or other tragic circumstances, why aren't gays seen as fit to adopt?

"We're good enough to fix the broken children they send to us," Brennan said, "but we're not good enough to be their parents? Look at that from a child's aspect: If gays and lesbians aren't good enough to adopt them, but they can be foster parents, what does that say about how the state feels about our foster children?"

Sen. Jeff Drozda (R-Westfield), who is pushing for a state law to prohibit same-sex couple adoptions after the Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that unmarried couples, regardless of sexual orientation, may adopt children, doesn't see any hypocrisy. "Whenever you're doing a foster situation, the child is still a ward of the state," he said. "And that is obviously a little bit different than turning over full adoption, full parental authority to (a gay) individual or couples." But the anti-gay Drozda would be willing to consider banning foster parenting by gays as well. "I would like to get their perspective to see if foster parenting should be included in the proposed (adoption) legislation,'' he told Evans.

The hypocrisy doesn't seem to be confined to Indiana according to the report. Evans writes, "While efforts are under way or planned in more than a dozen states to ban gays from adopting, only a handful of states have tried to block gays as foster parents."

A shortage of people willing to serve as foster parents is clearly the reason the state is willing to allow gay couples to be foster parents. According to Evans' report, Indiana has 4,638 licensed foster homes, while it has at least 5,000 children placed in foster homes at any given time. At least 11,000 children are placed in foster homes at some point during any given year.

Kim Brennan and Becki Hamilton, the lesbian couple at the center of the firestorm, got involved as foster parents because of the state's dire need for foster parents. "We didn't intend to get into the middle of some big thing," said Brennan. "We got into this because the state was in dire need of foster parents." Not surprisingly, Evans reports that the state hasn't needed their services since they chose to fight state efforts to block them from adopting the infant girl the Department of Children Services placed in their home.

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