Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Arkansas makes a possible boo boo

Wasn't Michelle Obama awesome last night? Personally I think she nailed her speech. And her two little girls were just adorable.

How can anyone vote against that family?

But seriously, in all of the hoopla about a presidential election, we sometimes forget state votes that could have a negative impact on our lives.

It happened in 1992 when Bill Clinton was elected. During that same time, Colorado passed a mindbogglingly bad law that prevented the state from passing any laws prohibiting anti-gay discrimination.

It was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1996. If this law had not been overturned, the effects on our fight for rights and self-determination would have been disastrous. Laws like it would have popped up virtually all over the country.

And I don't think I have to rehash the anti-gay marriage laws that passed in 2004. To this day, some people still say that they were the key to the re-election of Bush.

So now in 2008 comes the following, courtesy of Arkansas:

A proposal aimed at effectively banning gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall's ballot in Arkansas.

The measure would prohibit unmarried couples living together from fostering or adopting children, and Arkansas doesn't allow gays to marry or recognize gay marriages conducted elsewhere.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels certified the proposed initiated act for the Nov. 4 ballot after verifying that the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee had submitted 85,389 valid signatures of registered voters. Supporters needed to turn in at least 61,974 valid signatures.

"Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers," Family Council President Jerry Cox said. "We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible."

This proposed law is pernicious on so many levels. It illustrates how the anti-gay industry is willing to distort while at the same time trumpet how they stand for morals.

The part about unmarried couples is a dodge because the Arkansas court recently said that a ban on gay adoption is unlawful. So the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee can't come out and say to keep lgbts from adopting is the purpose of the law, but everyone knows that is the case.

Apparently ducking and dodging is now a Christian value.

Of course lgbt couples can get around this law if it is passed by using surrogates or sperm donations.

And it is here where we see just who the law will hurt.

For all of the bluster about it, this proposed law does not guarantee that foster children will end up in two-parent heterosexual households. It neither encourages nor mandates that two-parent heterosexual households take foster children in.

Jerry Cox and those like him all over the country are constantly saying that "children have a right to a mother and father." Well this is all well and good but this law does not guarantee them that right.

In fact, it does just the opposite.

It eliminate choices based on outdated concepts of family. It is also based on an inaccurate assumption that unmarried couples (be they heterosexual or lgbt) are stealing foster children away from two-parent heterosexual households.

Based on the number of children in foster care nationwide, that's not happening.

This law is about symbolism, not actualities.

And it's a shame because a child can't get love from a symbol.

But the real shame is that in their attempts to get at the lgbt community, the anti-gay industry in Arkansas aimed wrong and kicked foster children squarely in the mouth.