Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's a compliment, right?

One of my favorite co-workers (& there are many) said something interesting to me tonight. We threw a rally at the Capitol to support Workplace Fairness. I had sent him a text to tell him he was magic (because he really is) and when he called me to say thank you, he also said, "you are a dream with the life history of a nightmare". I was kind of stunned because it was such a thoughtful, genuine thing to say but also because he acknowledged a part of my life that keeps me motivated on nights like tonight.

I came home after the rally with thoughts of the rally we're about the throw on behalf of the adoption bill. Truth be told, that is where my passion is. This isn't a secret. Protecting children from what happened to mine is almost haunting for me. I think I have selfishly taken it on - knowing it makes me feel like I'm still fighting for her.

Some days, like yesterday, are so hard that it doesn't feel possible to really do enough. (btw, thank you for all of your thoughts) And then there are days like today when I watch my community stand up for their families through radio interviews, op-eds and rallies. It's inspiring and it feels like they want it as much as I do. Maybe the reason is different. Maybe my reason is so I can tell her I kept fighting until we won. But we're still in the same game and on the same side. And although my history has proved to be a "nightmare", on this night I receive a call to say that our largest paper has taken support of our bill. - acknowledging the nightmare of my past and the dream of my future.


Outdated law: Utah should allow same-sex couples to adopt

Utah's law banning adoptions by gay and lesbian couples and unmarried straight couples was a deplorable codification of bigotry in 2000 when it was passed. That hasn't changed.

But after eight years the law has become an illogical anachronism, considering the results of new studies, and it should be changed. The number of same-sex couples who are raising children increased by a third from 2000 to 2005, and the body of research showing that children raised by homosexual couples have no more problems than those from homes with a mother and a father has also grown.

Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, is carrying the banner for equality during the current session of the Legislature in the form of House Bill 318, which would lift the adoption restrictions, while stating that the Legislature prefers that a child be adopted by a parent or parents who are legally married.

Winning passage for the bill will be an uphill struggle against conservative forces, but it is a battle worth fighting, for the sake of children who need permanent homes with people who are their legal parents.

The Williams Institute based at the University of California Los Angeles estimates there are 53,832 gay, lesbian or bisexual Utah residents. Among them, there were 4,307 same-sex couples, up nearly 1,000 from 2000.

Nineteen percent of those couples are parents, raising a total of about 1,226 children. They may be the biological offspring of one spouse. Robbing the other parent of the ability to legally adopt the child leaves that parent on shaky legal ground when it comes to daily parenting duties - doctor visits, talking with teachers, signing documents - and in the event the couple were to split up.

In other cases, these couples simply want to give a good home to children, sometimes needy children who have been in foster care.

Growing up with two lesbian mothers or two gay fathers may require some explanation, but evidence shows such children are at no more risk than those from traditional homes. The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all stated their support for same-sex couples adopting.

Only two other states - Florida and Mississippi - block homosexual couples from adopting. It's time Utah joined the majority that allow it.