Alex Blaze

Affirmative Action for Straight Marriage

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 19, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: adoption rights, Arizona, homophobic behavior, Jan Brewer, legislature, marriage, straight

Arizona just passed a law saying that married couples (same-sex marriage isn't recognized in the state) should have parent-pride.jpg"priority" over other potential parents in adoptions. The rule applies to public and private adoption agencies:

Married couples will have preference when it comes to adopting children under a new measure signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday.

Senate Bill 1188, which was sponsored by Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, would require an adoption agency to give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman, with all other criteria being equal.

This raises several questions:

  1. If straight marriages really are the best way for people to be living, bringing them stability, prosperity, and happiness in abundance and shielding them from evil spirits, why do straight marriages need to have priority? Wouldn't their abundant greatness already put them at the front of the line when it comes to measures of parental ability?
  2. I thought that the government should never, ever be allowed to tell a private adoption agency who they're allowed to place children with or how to do it, that doing so violates their beliefs and risks shutting down adoption agencies, even when no adoption agencies shut down. Does that rule only apply when the government takes a pro-gay position?
  3. Will this actually change anything on the ground? I don't know much about how adoption proceedings work, but my guess is parents don't go to the orphanage to choose a child anymore, so the risk of a gay couple and a straight couple (equal in every other way!) fighting over the same child seems pretty low to me. If anything, this seems like a green light to adoption agencies to put up a "No homos" sign.

And just so that everyone's clear where I'm coming from: it wouldn't matter if same-sex marriage were legal in Arizona, this law is still wrong. There are plenty of great single parents and unmarried parents and that piece of paper doesn't make someone a good parent.

On the other hand, if there was same-sex marriage in Arizona I doubt they'd consider a law like this in the first place.

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The concern this raises for me is families like those already known in Florida and elsewhere: Gay and lesbian couples who have served as the only, or the longest-term, parents for foster kids. The kids, too often the least-wanted, most-challenged on entry to the foster care system, are now healthier and perhaps more suitable to a wider pool of adoptive parents when adoption becomes an option. At this point, state regulations intervene to say whoops! time to reconsider, not in the kids' best interest, but to suit bigoted legislators.

Or, I picture kids left parentless, where the parents designated a lesbian or gay couple as guardians, but an intra-family squabble erupts. State law now trumps the parents' wishes, in all likelihood, right?

The most likely outcome, in my mind, is that this disadvantages g/l single/partnered parents (as well as unmarried straight parents) in both foster care and adoption. Why should vulnerable kids with attachment issues be placed with any parent, even temporarily, who is blocked or unlikely to fill in permanently if the need arises?

Hey, heres an idea!

Lets just sell those unwanted Arizona kids to Packistan so they can make shirts or bouncy balls?

I bet the Repulicans would love that one!

"give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman..."

What if they're not married to each other?!?

My understanding is that this new law will not affect private adoptions. In a private adoption, it is almost always the individuals placing a child for adoption who choose the adoptive parent(s), not an agency. I think in order to stop LGBT people from adopting they would have to pass a law similar to what Florida and Arkansas had in effect before being ruled unconstitutional. Since Arizona stopped short of banning gay adoption, I think we will still see gay adoptions, but this new law will give bigoted agencies permission to discriminate if they choose.
It will be interesting to see the legal analysis when it comes out.