Column: Banning gay adoptions helps none

It’s too bad elected officials don’t realize how stupid they make themselves look on national TV – especially when trying to legitimize outdated laws.

On Primetime Thursday, Rep. Randy Ball was the latest televised example of a lawmaker who should get off of the conservative group-think plan.

Ball was the loudest voice of dissent on Primetime’s special, which focused on the Florida law banning gays from adopting foster children in this state.

It’s a general rule, Ball said, that heterosexual parents are the way to go. That’s odd, Rep. Ball, I didn’t know there were rules to parenting.

The law, generated from an anti-gay movement by Anita Bryant and passed in 1977, has increased visibility because of the Lofton-Croteau family.

Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau, a gay couple who have been together for almost 20 years, have, in that time, taken into their home six foster children, all of whom were HIV-positive. Bert, a 10-year-old the couple has cared for since he was nine weeks old, no longer has any trace of the virus in his system. And now the state wants to put him “on the market” for adoption. The state wants to snatch Bert away from the only home he has known. The state wants to steal Bert from the only people who loved him when no one else would.

If lawmakers would open their eyes, they would see that the ban on gay adoptions keeps countless children each year from finding one of the most important things in a person’s life – a loving family who will always be there.

As it stands legally, the Lofton-Croteau family is the underdog. But hoping to give them an edge is talk show host and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, who publicly spoke Thursday about being a gay mother herself.

Rosie told Diane Sawyer that “for the state of Florida to tell anyone who is willing, capable, and able to do that (save a child who others have deemed unsaveable), that they are unworthy, is wrong.”

Taking a look at the home Steve and Roger have provided for their children is a perfect example that the only rule to child rearing is unconditional love. Gay or straight, everyone has the right to have a family.

Arguments that a child should be placed in a home where there is a mother and father figure to set an example for a child aren’t strong enough. Single-parent homes are unfortunately too common today, and even in a home where the mom and dad are still living together and legally married, the example being set could be one of physical and emotional abuse.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement last month in support of adoptions by homosexuals: ” … When two adults participate in parenting a child, they and the child deserve the serenity that comes with legal recognition … Denying legal parent status through adoption to co-parents or second parents prevents these children from enjoying the psychological and legal security that comes from having two willing, capable and loving parents …”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that foster children have endured enough neglect in their lives. There are few things more emotionally scarring than being given away by your parents.

For 25 years, Florida has contributed to that pain. It’s past time for healing to begin. Reversing the ban on gay adoptions is an important step in that process.

  • Kevin Graham is The Oracle editor in