[promoted by BooMan]

State Rep. Robert Talton (R-Pasadena) added on a last-minute amendment to SB 6 (reforming Texas’ Child Protective Services agency) to forbid LGBT parents from being foster or adoptive parents.  One of the most incredible provisions is a requirement that prospective parents be required to answer questions about their sexual orientation!  This contradicts professional practice, to my knowledge, of what a Cerified Social Worker does in a “home study” (the background investigation of prospective foster/adoptive parents).
What’s next?  Pink Triangles? Loyalty oaths?  

read on…
First some more background information.  Here’s the presser from the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas:

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2005
LGRL of Texas

AUSTIN, TX- Texas families, particularly children, took a potentially devastating hit today from the Texas House of Representatives. Legislators voted to approve an extremely controversial, expensive, and damaging amendment to SB6, the bill designed to overhaul the child protective services system in our state. The amendment, filed by Rep. Robert Talton (R-Pasadena), bans same-sex couples from serving as foster parents.

Experts say the move will cost the state millions of dollars and seriously limit the pool of eligible foster parents, which is already grossly inadequate to deal with the number of children in the system.

Randall Ellis, Executive Director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, said Texas children are being used as political pawns. “This amendment is bad policy, plain and simple,” Ellis said. “It’s bad for Texas children. It’s bad for Texas families, and it’s bad for the hard-working LGBT people of this state. Mr. Talton has taken aim at the LGBT community of Texas, and thousands of children are now caught in the crosshairs.”

Studies consistently show that the children of LGBT parents grow up to be just as healthy and stable as children raised in heterosexual homes.

Before today’s vote, the C.P.S. overhaul bill had already been approved by the Texas Senate, but without the anti-gay amendment. The amended version must pass on a third reading before the House, then it will go to a conference committee, where members of both houses will meet to hammer out a compromise bill. The amendment could be taken out at that point. The final version of the bill will then go back for a final vote of both houses, but this vote is seen largely as a formality.”

As an adoptive parent, I am deeply offended by this.  I wrote to the Texas Freedom League and LGRL to suggest they should make common cause with mainstream foster/adoption advocacy groups to fight this.  There are religiously-affiliated groups that discriminate in placement of children in foster care or for adoption, but many who don’t.  Some (the Methodists come to mind) advocate for LGBT parents of foster and adopted children, and place a child where s/he will have a home and be loved, without regard to the sexual orientation of the parents.

We have seen Jeb Bush and the state legislature push this issue in Florida — children in need there are now more limited in the number of families available in the pool who can give them a home.  I know the issue has been pushed in other state legislatures.  What is the law right now in your state?

This happens to be a Texas-specific action item today, but surely is an issue throughout the country.  Because there is not one national set of laws governing child welfare and adoption, but rather 51 (at least – – not to leave out Puerto Rico and the territories), the right is pushing this in each state. It’s on their “to-do” list, and they’re working it hard, I’m sure.

Folks, this is truly an issue of children.  Every state in our country has children who NEED a stable family environment, either temporarily, or often, a “forever family”.  Limiting the number of eligible families is WRONG, it’s costly, and it’s REALLY BAD public policy.  This is driven by narrow ideology, and genuinely harms children.   and of course, it is further discriminatory against LBTG people.

We may have people here who are part of an adoption triad, perhaps some of you were in foster care, or now have or have had a foster child in your home.   There may be LGBT members here. And for all the rest of us, this is an issue of progressive versus regressive.

So, what do we do?  The Texas-Kos list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/texas_kos/) has been informed and invited to contact our state legislators, but I pose this as an issue to the community.  It’s part of the overall agenda against GLTG people, but in this case, actually factually really affects children NEGATIVELY. And I strongly suspect they’re doing this in YOUR STATE, too.

I’m open to suggestions for action.


[posted earlier this morning also at DKos]

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