The children of the Yearning for Zion Ranch are going home. Am I happy? Yes and no. The Texas Supreme Court says they should all go home, but a minority of the court wanted to keep the girls who had reached puberty in foster care, away from the culture that might marry them off any moment. That's the decision I would have made.
What does this have to do with LGBT parents?
Well, here's a story about me. I was raised Jewish, by Jewish parents, in New York City in the 1950s, surrounded by other Jews. Through second grade, I attended a school associated with our synagogue. By the time I learned there was anti-semitism, I felt so clear and so good about being Jewish that no amount of anti-semitism could shake that part of my identity.
So... when I had a daughter I wondered how to raise her to be a strong and self-assured woman in a sexist world. I couldn't live on "wimmin's land" in a rural area as some lesbians were; I'm an urban girl at heart. But if I could have, well, I might have. It did occur to me that if she spent her early childhood surrounded by strong and self-assured women, sheltered from sexism, she might be best prepared to later face a world that would try its best to channel her into a proper gender role.
When I learned of the wholesale removal of the children of the FLDS, I thought about the women raising children in communal and separatist communities. Think of what child welfare officials might say about those children! What keeps the state away from those children is the right of their parents to raise them as they see fit, short of neglect or abuse.
I believe the girls of the YFZ ranch were in imminent danger of abuse once they reached, say, 11 years old. I'm sorry to see those girls returned. As for the rest, well, further investigation might show them in danger as well, but in the meantime they should be with their parents -- whose ways I detest and who are raising their children to be part of an unabashedly patriarchal culture.
One more thing...I haven't heard enough about the education those children were receiving. Parents home schooling their children have to meet standards. I want to know if those standards were met for the children of the YFZ ranch. If not, that's reason enough to me for the state to intervene to guarantee those children an education. I want the children to have a way out of there, and without an education there's no hope of that.
Today's LGBT young adults in many parts of the country take for granted that they can have children if they want. But in some states, a parent who leaves a heterosexual marriage and then comes out will almost certainly lose custody of his or her children to the other, heterosexual parent. It is not far fetched to imagine a child welfare agency swooping into a community of radical faeries or lesbian separatists raising children. As you're making up your own mind about the children of the YFZ ranch, bear that in mind.