There are some lawmakers who just really get "it" and that makes me smile. Rep. Fortney Stark (D-CA) gets "it." "It" is not about politics, "it" is about having a nation that is actually functional and cares about its citizens. Sounds hokey? Well, fuck, I guess I am.
If you heard this act's name on its own, no matter what your "family belief system" is based upon, you would agree with the message: Every Child Deserves a Family. No doubt, why should a child be suffering because of politics?
In 2000, there were 547,415 children in foster care across the US, 25 percent of those are either left in foster care permanently or were not given a plan for permanent housing (i.e. adoption), according to a Pew Commission on Foster Care paper. That means 136,000 kids without a home. You're gonna tell me they'd rather live in foster care their whole life than have a set of loving gay parents? I doubt it.
Two-thirds of the children who
age out of foster-care are unable to function successfully on their
own, reads a University
of Chicago study brought to light by PBS. Many of these children go on to have mental health problems and very high rates of homelessness, says Mark Courtney, author of the study.
A Washington Blade article quotes Stark in relation to this bill:
<<Stark said in an interview that he introduced the legislation, H.R. 3827, in
part because thousands of children each year "age out" of the child welfare
system without finding homes.
"We got 25,000 kids a year maturing out of the welfare system without
permanent foster care or adoptive care, and the prospects of those children
having a successful adult life are diminished greatly," he said. "These are kids
who end up in the criminal justice system, or end up homeless.">>
Utah, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Mississippi all have some restriction or outright ban on gay people adopting children. Starks is hoping to change this permanently.
From the Blade again:
<<The legislation, Stark said, also would restrict funds for states where
restrictions are put in place by agencies, individual social workers or judges,
or where restrictions are part of the common law of the state.
For states that don't comply with the law, federal officials could withhold
from the states funds provided to them for child welfare services. The bill also
calls for a Government Accountability Office study within five years to examine
how states are complying with the new rules.>>
The bill is set "to prohibit discrimination in adoption or
foster care placements based on the sexual orientation, gender
identification, or marital status of any prospective adoptive or foster
parent," according to opencongress.org. And while the act is still missing co-sponsors, we're hoping it succeeds.
Hardly seems right to stifle a child's potential for a loving family simply because of political or moral beliefs. No matter what the beliefs are behind banning a child from entering a loving home, whether that be a gay or straight, bi, whatever, it is just flat out depriving a child of a better chance at a successful life, point blank.
To offer your support for the bill, visit opencongress.org