As you probably know by now, a state judge in Florida has overturned the state’s ban on gay adoption. Money quote from the ruling:
“It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person’s ability to parent. A child in need of love, safety and stability does not first consider the sexual orientation of his parent. The exclusion causes some children to be deprived of a permanent placement with a family that is best suited to their needs.”
The case will be appealed, of course. And the reaction from the bigots has been predictable:
John Stemberger, chairman of a successful drive earlier this month to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Florida, called the ruling “classic judicial activism” and predicted it would be reversed on appeal.
“Everywhere in the law where children are affected, the standard must always be what is in the best interest of the child,” said Stemberger, an attorney in Orlando. “What is stunning to me is that when it comes to dealing with gays, that standard goes out the window. Children do better with a mother and a father.”
Do better than what? Better is a relative term and it requires that a comparison be made. Do children do better, on average, with a mother and a father than they do with a single mother or a single father? Of course they do. But surely they do better with a single mother or father, regardless of their sexual orientation, than they do in an orphanage or bouncing from foster home to foster home.
But even if this wasn’t true, it shouldn’t make any difference in our policy choices. It’s also true that children are statistically better off with affluent parents rather than poor parents, with white parents rather than black parents, and with educated parents rather than uneducated parents. But that obviously does not mean that the government can prohibit poor, black or uneducated parents from adopting children.
This decision IS about what is best for the children. The plaintiff in this case has raised these two foster kids for 4 years, since one was 4 years old and the other a newborn. How could any sane person seriously argue that those children should be taken away from the only family they have ever really known? The only possible reason is bigotry. Nothing else makes sense.