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Rep. Pete Stark Rejects Santorum’s Anti-Gay Adoption Stance: ‘I Think He’s Crazy’

By Igor Volsky  

"Rep. Pete Stark Rejects Santorum’s Anti-Gay Adoption Stance: ‘I Think He’s Crazy’"

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Yesterday, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which would “ban discrimination in adoption or foster care placement based on the sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity of the potential parent, or the sexual orientation or gender identity of the child.” The measure has attracted 33 Democratic co-sponsors in the House, and “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will introduce a companion bill in the Senate in the coming weeks.”

Stark told the Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel that “homophobic opposition that has tried to decide that gay people aren’t suitable adoptive parents” motivated him to offer the measure, and when Terkel asked the Congressman about former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (R-PA) recent suggestion that gay people aren’t entitled to the “privilege” of parenthood — as we reported yesterday — Stark harshly condemned the remarks:

“I take exception to that,” Stark told The Huffington Post. “We have a tremendous need for adoptive parents in this country. We’ve got thousands of kids who would otherwise be stuck in foster care, which isn’t a very good place for them to end up. This is a human rights issue.” … “I think he’s crazy,” Stark said. “I don’t know where he comes up with those ideas.”

Indeed, numerous studies dispute the notion that kids fare better in heterosexual households, pointing out 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.”

Several states, however, have recently passed legislation restricting adopt by gay parents. Virginia’s State Board of Social Services recently rejected “adding protections against discrimination in adoption proceedings on the basis of sexual orientation” and 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.”

Terkel notes that the prospects for Stark’s bill are slim. “Currently, there are no GOP co-sponsors, although Stark said he has heard from a few Republicans who may support it. “

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