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McCain Takes Radical Stance On Gay Adoption

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"McCain Takes Radical Stance On Gay Adoption"

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Our guest bloggers are Winnie Stachelberg and Robert Gordon. Stachelberg is is the Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Gordon is a senior fellow.

This weekend, John McCain staked out an extreme position on “gay adoption.” Here’s what he said:

Q: President Bush believes that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt children. Do you agree with that?

Mr. McCain: I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don’t believe in gay adoption.

Q: Even if the alternative is the kid staying in an orphanage, or not having parents.

Mr. McCain: I encourage adoption and I encourage the opportunities for people to adopt children I encourage the process being less complicated so they can adopt as quickly as possible. And Cindy and I are proud of being adoptive parents.

Q: But your concern would be that the couple should a traditional couple

Mr. McCain: Yes.

McCain not only expressed his opposition to adoption by “gay couples”–as if that weren’t bad enough. He said he wants “both parents” involved and therefore doesn’t believe in “gay adoption.” This approach rules out adoption by gay individuals–even though these adoptions are permitted in every state except Florida. In fact, it seems to rule out adoption by single heterosexuals too.

There’s a reason that nearly every child welfare organization in the country, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Child Welfare League of America opposes bans on adoption by gays and lesbians, and no state has followed Florida’s lead in banning these adoptions. About 130,000 children wait in the foster care system each year for a permanent, loving home. And every year, half of these children are never placed, and 20,000 children “age out” of the foster care system without ever finding a permanent home.

Children are placed in foster care on a case-by-case basis. Every potential parent undergoes extensive screening before a child is placed with them. A ban on certain adoptions eliminates potential parents and wastes child welfare agencies’ time and resources implementing it—in Texas alone, a ban would cost more than $75 million over 5 years.

Does John McCain really think hundreds of thousands of children should sit in foster care and orphanages while we wait for “Ozzie and Harriet” families to appear? As someone who himself made the admirable decision to adopt a child, Senator McCain surely knows better.

UPDATE: McCain walks it back. Via Andrew Sullivan:

“McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue, just as he made it clear in the interview that marriage is a state issue. He was not endorsing any federal legislation.

McCain’s expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible. However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative,”
- Jill Hazelbaker, Director of Communications

We think the last sentence means McCain personally doesn’t agree with Florida, but it’s hard to say. How about a little straight talk? Barring gay people from adopting is morally wrong.

UPDATE II: McCain’s “clarification” doesn’t square with his position 8 years ago. Asked in 2000 about adoption by same-sex couples, McCain responded that he didn’t “believe it’s appropriate.” (San Francisco Examiner, March 1, 2000)

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