Texas is on track to become the first state in the United States to ban lesbian and gay foster parenting. This legislation is a stealth amendment to a complex and obnoxious bill whose purpose is to reform (i.e., privatize) child protective services--the amendment is kind of like a particularly revolting sucker fish attached to a shark. The ban, if passed, will be retroactive, and foster children in gay households will be removed and redistributed by newly hired private agencies to heterosexual foster homes. Would-be foster parents will henceforth be asked if they are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and if they answer that they are, they will be told that they are ineligible.
The Austin American Statesman quotes Robert Talton, the Republican author of the no-gay-foster-parent provision as follows:
"It's a learned behavior, and I think a child . . . ought to have the opportunity to be presented to a traditional family as such," Talton said. "And if they choose to be homosexual or lesbian, then that's their choice when they turn 18."
If you are flabbergasted at this, perhaps unsure whether Talton is dangerously insane or insanely ignorant, you obviously aren't from Texas, where we have learned to live with this unanswered question about our lawmakers for many years now.
Over the years I have acquired a natural and usually justified pessimism about our politics, never having fooled myself that there is some kind of moral floor below which Texas politicians cannot sink. We'll see. The Texas Senate version of the bill did not contain the ban on gay foster parenting, so there remains some hope the bill as amended by the House will not become law--the conference committee will decide that.
Any readers who live in Texas, feel free to contact your legislators about this.
I have two gay friends who adopted a little boy here in Texas several years ago--except that, technically, only one of them actually adopted the baby. I don't remember the details now, but I think the agencies certifying the adoption knew the adoptive father was gay. My friends were, rightfully perhaps, a little paranoid about the possibility that the State might later pass some law nullifying the adoption, and taking away their son, whom they love. So they moved to Vermont. Wise move, I think.