Among Mitt Romney’s timid responses this week after President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality was an admission that he was “fine” with same-sex couples adopting children, saying, “that’s something that people have a right to do.” But by Friday afternoon, he was already backing away from that position, suggesting that he merely “acknowledges” that many states offer same-sex adoption:
ROMNEY: Actually, I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.
Not only does this bland answer show little respect for nearly two million children being raised by LGBT parents, but it’s also horribly misinformed. Adoption laws vary widely from state to state with little consistency between them. In only 18 states and the District of Columbia can same-sex parents petition for joint adoption. There are 12 (some of which overlap with the 18) that allow for second-parent adoption. And if same-sex couples wish to serve as foster parents, there are only seven states that guarantee their right to do so. Because of the disparity of laws and the absence of any written policy in many states, judges often make their own decisions and families can never be sure in which states their adoption will be recognized.
Romney has a long history of dissembling on the issue of same-sex adoption. In 2007, he appeared to support the right of same-sex couples to adopt, saying “obviously, that’s their right.” But last year, a Romney spokesman said that same-sex adoption “should be assessed on a state-by-state basis.”