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CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE — Debates continue over same-sex adoptions

November 28, 2008

“Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan based in Midland, said it ‘defies common sense’ to pass legislation that promotes homosexuality. He said that because smoking reduces life expectance by about seven years, rational people stop smoking. And because an Oxford University study showed that being a gay male in college takes up to 20 years off of someone’s life, people should stop being gay, too.

Glenn said he’s concerned that a child who is exposed to homosexuality would engage in gay or lesbian behavior. ‘This issue should not be about emotionally enabling adults who engage in homosexual behavior, it should be about the children,’ he said. ‘There’s no question that what is best for children is to be raised by a mother and a father that are married.’”

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CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE
Lansing, Michigan
November 25, 2008

Debates continue over same-sex adoptions
By Alison Costello

LANSING — Five years ago, Lansing residents Deanna Hurlbert and Julie Larson considered adopting a child. But as a lesbian couple, they knew their chances in Michigan were slim.

At the time, Hurlbert said she knew of one judge in Michigan who sometimes granted adoption rights to same-sex couples, but he stopped doing so when his chance of re-election was threatened.

In Michigan, there’s no statute or state Supreme Court decision that outlaws adoption by homosexual couples, but some judges interpret a law governing adoption by married couples to mean that a couple must be married, said Jay Kaplan, an attorney at the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union in Detroit.

Hulbert said any credible adoption agency would have found out about her long-term relationship, and adoption as a gay couple in Michigan would be nearly impossible.

“I wasn’t willing to be dishonest about my relationship,” she said. “One of us would have to adopt and one wouldn’t have legal custody.”

Without legal custody, parents often cannot sign medical documents and school permission slips. If the couple breaks up, custody conflicts may be difficult to resolve in court, Hurlbert said.

Several interest groups have lobbied for what they call “second parent adoptions,” a law that would clear up any confusion about homosexual couples being allowed to adopt. They say it would give children in crowded foster care facilities more of a chance to be adopted.

Hurlbert and her partner considered moving out of the state to be able to adopt. Advocates for same-sex custody adoption rights say allowing second-parent adoptions would encourage people to move to Michigan.

But opponents say gay couples aren’t appropriate parents and that if a homosexual couple were to adopt, the institution of marriage would be threatened.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan based in Midland, said it “defies common sense” to pass legislation that promotes homosexuality.

He said that because smoking reduces life expectance by about seven years, rational people stop smoking. And because an Oxford University study showed that being a gay male in college takes up to 20 years off of someone’s life, people should stop being gay, too.

Glenn said he’s concerned that a child who is exposed to homosexuality would engage in gay or lesbian behavior.

“This issue should not be about emotionally enabling adults who engage in homosexual behavior, it should be about the children,” he said. “There’s no question that what is best for children is to be raised by a mother and a father that are married.”

On the other hand, some researchers and advocates say Glenn’s argument is indeed questionable.

“Any reputable medical or child welfare organization has found nothing wrong with same-gender parents,” Hurlbert said.

Research has shown evidence on both sides of the question, but much of the recently published studies find that children with one or more homosexual parents are very similar to their peers in traditional, heterosexual households.

There may be political hope for same-sex couples wanting to adopt.

Rep. Paul Condino, D-Southfield, introduced legislation in 2005 and again in 2007 to legalize second parent adoptions.

Although the bills didn’t pass, surveys have shown that the public is warming up to the idea of two dads or two moms.

For example, a 2006 Pew Research Center poll found that 46 percent of Americans support gay and lesbian adoption—up from 38 percent in 1999.

Across the country, gay and lesbian couples may be married in Massachusetts and Connecticut, while Florida, Mississippi, Utah and Arkansas have explicit laws against homosexual adoption.

http://cns.jrn.msu.edu/articles/2008_1125/gayadoption.html

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