Yesterday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) signed Senate Bill 1188, requiring state-funded and private adoption agencies “to give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman, with all other criteria being equal.” This doesn’t mean that gay couples wouldn’t be able to adopt in the state, but they would have to fall to the back of the line simply because of their sexual orientation. As Tom Mann of Equality Arizona put it:
The governor’s action today is harmful to children in foster care and group homes who are seeking a permanent home and the support of a loving, caring family. SB 1188 takes the focus off of what’s in the best interest of a child when adoption decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, according to what’s in a child’s best interest. Each case is unique. For example, adoption authorities may have the choice between placing a child with a beloved single aunt — or complete strangers. The only consideration should be determining what’s in the best interest of the child.
Numerous studies dispute the notion that kids fare better in heterosexual households, showing that children with same-sex parents show no significant differences compared with children in different-sex households.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, found that “children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior.” The researchers also found that “children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.”
This isn’t the first time Brewer has taken an anti-gay stance. In 2009, the Governor signed budget legislation that prohibited gay state employees from enrolling their domestic partners in health coverage. Lambda Legal sued the state on behalf of 10 state employee and in July of 2010, a federal judge rejected the state’s claim that “the elimination of benefits will not harm the families of gay and lesbian employees” and temporarily prevented the benefit cuts, saying that the law “violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause by making it impossible for homosexuals to get health coverage for their partners.” The lawsuit is now before the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.