Moving onto a new blog

I’m sorry to have ignored this blog for a few years, mostly because adoption by LGBT parents in Florida has continued to be legal and without challenge either through the courts or by the Legislature.

As I reach the project phase of my master’s program next year, however, I will be creating a new blog focused on same-sex marriage in Florida, and efforts to allow it to happen. This will be the next big effort in our state, and I hope my blog will be a forum for all who support this goal.

I will announce details on here once it’s established in January. With the way things are rolling across the nation this past year, this goal might be achieved faster than we expect!

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More same-sex couples adopting across country

What would progressive-minded people do without the New York Times?

This great newspaper doesn’t shy away from stories that probe deeply and reflect how our country and world are changing.  The news columns are filled with stories about minorities, the poor, LGBT people, etc. And controversial issues are covered well.

So here we have another story that looks at the growing number of adoptions by LGBT people. The numbers are heartening. About 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000, the story states.

The story again reminds us of how inexorably tied the issue of adoption is to marriage rights. Same-sex couples are unable to provide the same protections and opportunities for themselves and their children in many states because of the laws against same-sex marriages. 

Read about the changes here.

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Trib looks at growing number of adoptions by LGBT people

This is the first story I’ve seen in the media, whether mainstream or alternative, to assess the impact of the appellate court decision since it was made last September.

It’s pretty much localized to the Tampa area, but it’s interesting to note how cautious and perhaps tentative the situation is as LGBT people go to adopt children.  The story notes, of course, that it’s no longer part of the procedure to ask or know a potential parent’s orientation, so it’s hard to gauge just how many people are adopting.

The story also touches on the fear of backlash to the decision, even suggesting that maybe why so many people are moving beneath the radar, as they have a right to as well.

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Congressman Stark pens column on gay adoption bill

Rep. Stark, who introduced the bill mentioned in my last post, has written a fine column for the Washington Post. I was glad to see it rightly recognizes Florida’s own Martin Gill for his convictions and efforts to adopt two foster children, which resulted in the appellate court’s decision to overturn the state’s archaic law.

Read the column here.

An excerpt:

We need a federal remedy. I introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act this month to remove all remaining barriers to finding stable, caring permanent homes for America’s foster children. The legislation would restrict federal funding to states that delay or deny placements of foster kids based on the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of prospective parents — or based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child.

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Congressman introduces bill to prevent discrimination

A  proposed bill to prevent states from restricting adoption by LGBT people may go nowhere in the U.S. Congress because of a lack of Republican support in the House of Representatives, but it’s a significant and symbolic step.

See story from Huffington Post here.

Rep. Pete Stark,  D-Calif., introduced the bill and should be commended for this action in the wake of backward steps in states such as Arizona and Virginia. A similar bill is expected in the U.S. Senate.

As with the same-sex marriage issue, efforts must be made on both federal and individual state levels to ensure adoption rights by LGBT people.

As Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, said in the Huff Post story:  “The simple truth is that today’s modern American family is made up of all types of configurations. One in four children in this country is currently being raised by a single parent. Two and a half million families are headed by single dads and one a half million kids are being raised by grandparents.”

This is the link to the official news release from Stark’s office.

“We now spend more than $7 billion per year on a flawed foster care system that doesn’t serve all the children who are in it, and permits discrimination against capable, loving potential parents and children.

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A perfect Mother’s Day story: Meet the Aleniers

This is a wonderful post on the GLADD blog about the Aleniers, the Florida women who successfully adopted a little boy in the wake of last September’s appellate court decision.

We need more stories like this to be spread to the general public to demonstrate the compassion of LGBT people who are making a big difference in the lives of children who need them.

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Story provides overview of adoption struggles throughout U.S.

This story provides a comprehensive look at the recent developments in the adoption issue across the country, including what’s happened recently in Arkansas, Virginia and Arizona.

Representatives of the Family Equality Council and the Human Rights Campaign talk about the influence of politics on what should be a strictly child welfare issue.

In the story, Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, is quoted as saying ”the overarching picture right now is looking a little gloomy at the state level.”

The story also points out that the subject of same-sex marriage and relationships adds to the complications about LGBT people and adoption. 

We can expect it will take years and a vast amount of resources to reach parity with straight people when it comes to marriage and adoption. Until then, LGBT  people will do as they have often done and form “families” in new and myriad ways, which are in no way less valuable or less helpful to children than the traditional man-woman families.

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ACLU Florida creates Facebook page on adoption issue

The American Civil Liberties Union in Florida has created a page on Facebook as part of its campaign for the adoption issue. The page just passed 100 “likes,” and I hope it gains a lot more. Here is the link.

Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have created a whole new communications paradigm.  It’s about people participation and thus probably means a lot more than in the days when all the media were “top down.”  Newspapers and the TV networks set the agenda and delivered all the news you needed to know — allegedly. And most importantly there was little or limited opportunity for feedback. 

Now the digital space available to us has given anyone with a computer a chance to define news and weigh its importance.

The LGBT community is lucky to have these tools because mainstream media have traditionally given little attention to marginalized groups unless they took their campaigns into the streets or  public sphere.

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Arizona, Virginia tell LGBT parents we are not worthy

Wow. You might think that Florida is becoming one of the more progressive states, given the LGBT-unfriendly developments in Virginia and Arizona this week.

This story reports the latest bad news from our sister states. A progressive idea in Virginia is shot down, and a regressive policy moves forward in Arizona. A board in Virginia removed a policy proposal that would have prevented adoption agencies from being biased toward LGBT parents.  Arizona Gov. Brewer (seen above in an infamous video where she is amazingly inarticulate) signed a policy that gives preference to married heterosexual couples.

These moves continue to tell LGBT people that they cannot be as good a parent as a straight person, and that’s just not the case. Children are not raised in a house on the prairie. They have teachers, coaches, friends’ parents and a large network of others who provide guidance and role models. And these people often come in every flavor of race, gender, sexuality and age.

“This is a law based on stereotypes and cultural assumptions about gay people being bad for kids,” said James Essex, an attorney with the ACLU who specializes in LGBT issues.

To assume that only a straight man and straight woman who are married can bring up healthy children is absurd.

BTW: I posted a Fox story because it included news from both states, and seemed somewhat fair. However, I hate its reference to culture wars. There is not an LGBT or straight culture when it comes to families and children.

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LGBT kids find it harder to find foster homes

This Huffington Post article about the sorry state of the foster care system in the U.S. delves into another angle that many LGBT individuals care about — the LGBT children in the system.

Ironically at a time when some groups oppose the opportunity for LGBT people to adopt or even foster, children in the foster care system who are open about their sexuality cannot always be placed.

It’s tragic for any child to be unable to find a more permanent home, but undoubtedly these young LGBT people will find it worse, in some cases being subjected to abuse in the places they are able to live.

How sad that those adults and couples who would be most likely to care for these kids are prevented from doing so in some states.

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