Fresh off his George Rekers scandal, Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is telling Florida Baptist News that he wants to expand Florida’s discriminatory adoption laws to prohibit gay people from serving as foster parents:
MCCOLLUM: I don’t believe in gay adoption. I don’t believe in involving the government in enforcing or encouraging the lifestyle of gays and homosexuals. I just don’t believe that. [...]
Q: Florida permits homosexuals to serve as foster parents. That has been used as an argument to undermine the ban on adoptions. Should homosexuals be permitted to serve as foster parents in Florida?
MCCOLLUM: Well, I personally don’t think so, but that is the law.
Q: Should the law be changed?
MCCOLLUM: I think that it would be advisable. I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children. I think that it’s a lifestyle that I don’t agree with. I realize a lot of people do. It’s my personal faith, religious faith, that I don’t believe that the people who do this should be raising our children. It’s not a natural thing. You need a mother and a father. You need a man and a woman. That’s what God intended.
Florida has already been recognized by eQualityGiving.com for being one of the least gay-friendly states in America and is the only state to explicitly prohibit gays and lesbians from adopting children. Florida enacted the ban in 1977 — on the heels of Anita Bryant’s campaign against expanded rights for gay people and two years before the first reported case of an adoption by an openly gay person anywhere in the country. At the time, Bryant and other conservatives claimed that “the recruitment of our children is absolutely necessary for the survival and growth of homosexuality–for since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they must recruit, they must freshen their ranks.”
Bigotry aside, there is no evidence that children who grow up in straight households do any better than those who are reared by gay couples. As U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker pointed out in his recent ruling overturning Proposition 8, “The evidence does not support a finding that California has an interest in preferring opposite-sex parents over same-sex parents. Indeed, the evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes” and suggests that “children of gay and lesbian parents would benefit if their parents were able to marry.”
One such recent study by scientists at the University of Virginia and George Washington University found that “children adopted by lesbian and gay male couples develop just as well as those adopted by heterosexual parents.” “Same-sex parents, and their adoptive children, fared just as well as heterosexual families,” the study concluded. “Regardless of whether their parents were lesbian, gay or heterosexual, most boys exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged boys, and most girls exhibited behavior typical of other same-aged girls,” the authors write.
Over at Change.org, Mike Jones suggests that McCollum’s support for strengthening the adoption ban may be motivated by his low poll numbers. That may be true, but there is some evidence to suggest that homophobia won’t sell in the state — at least not in the general election. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that “a majority of Floridians now oppose the ban” and three recent court decisions have ruled that the ban violates Florida’s constitution. The issue is “before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals and is headed most likely to the state Supreme Court.”