Donna Pandori posted earlier this week about a lesbian couple in Florida who adopted a child they were fostering and didn't lie on the application. A judge eventually awarded them custody; the best interests of the child and a parent's sexual orientation aren't related, according to the judge.
So of course a local iteration of the standard-issue Religious Right org (here the "Florida Family Policy Council") is mad. A judge, someone with the audacity to both know the law and meet this family, made a decision they didn't like! Judicial activism! And the judicial activism was accompanied by photos of the couple on the left, even though the folks on the right are the couple in question (Melanie Leon and Vanessa Alenier):
This is a particular line of attack that I've seen deployed not a few times against LGBT people - they're not beautiful! Haw haw haw, that means they're not human!
The Orlando Sentinel was the first to notice the photo mix-up, and JMG adds that the incorrect photo is the first Google image result that comes up if someone searches "ugly lesbian." Personally, I hope that the couple in the supposedly "ugly" photo is living in a cave and has no access to the internet - the Florida Family Policy Council isn't just being mean-spirited towards Leon and Alenier, but they're being terribly cruel to the unknown couple in the photo.
While Leon and Alenier are a traditionally beautiful couple, that's just another factor, like their sexual orientation, that's unrelated to their ability to parent. The unknown couple could be loving and responsible parents just as easily, even though the Orlando Sentinel's columnist said:
The couple look so odd (you literally can't tell whether they are male or female) that one might wonder how any judge could place a young child with such a disturbing-looking duo.
I would assume that they were good parents and that the fact that some people are "disturbed" by their appearance didn't play a factor in the decision. And I don't think that the point of the photo was to convince people unsure about the decision that Leon and Alenier are bad parents; rather, the point was to create space for a self-affirming tribal ritual among homophobes where they all get together and laugh at LGBT people for not being as wonderful, beautiful, and gendered as they are.
But the columnist makes it clear that it's not just about beauty, it's about gender. The androgyny of the unknown is meant to imply that "gender confusion" will descend on the children, the bad haircuts and lack of tan makes them seem lower class, and they don't look like feminine women, which means that they don't have maternal instincts or deserve the same rights and protections Real Women have under the law.
The org's president made a shallow apology on the Florida Family Policy Council's website, prefaced by several paragraphs criticizing the Orlando Sentinel for even bringing it up in the first place. They even go so far as to call the Sentinel "judgmental," which, if your organization is devoted to judging LGBT parents as unfit to raise children, takes some chutzpah.
There's a lot going on with switching the photos up, and none of it's related to actually determining whether the couple in question make good parents or not (and I hear they do!). But it's not really shocking to see this coming from the Religious Right. As much as we've been told that they're "values voters" who are just worried about losing the "Culture War" and the direction the "moral values" of America are headed, they're really just people who are, to borrow a phrase from elementary schools across America, "ugly on the inside."