Georgia GOP Candidate Handel On Why She Doesn’t Think Gays Are Suitable Parents: ‘Because I Don’t’

This week, Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate and former congressman Nathan Deal slammed his opponent, former secretary of state Karen Handel, for her past support of “taxpayer-funded domestic partner benefits and gay adoption” and membership in the Log Cabin Republicans. Concerned about shoring up support for next week’s primary, Handel has been denying and backtracking on those positions.

But in 2003, the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans said it supported Handel’s candidacy for county commission chair because she “demonstrated in her last run that she was supportive of domestic partner benefits” and “supported same-sex adoptions on the basis of the best interest of the child.” Handel is now calling the quote inaccurate, even though “she never asked Southern Voice for a correction or retraction.”

In an interview yesterday, Handel made her new-found feelings clear. Speaking with Doug Richards of Georgia’s 11 Alive, she uncomfortably tried to define her new opposition to gay rights and became exasperated when Richards pushed her to explain herself:


Q: Do you know any gay couples with children?

A: Not that I’m aware of.

Q: So you think gay couples are less qualified to function as parents than straight couples?

A: I think that for a child to be in a household — in a family in a household with a situation where the parents are not married, as in one man and one woman, is not the best household for a child.

Q: Is it better or worse than a single parent household?

A: Doug, I’m really trying to be straightforward with you but I’m not going to debate all the nuances. I’ve made it abundantly clear that I think that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that’s what I believe, and I don’t know what more you would like me to add to that.

Q: I guess I want to know why you think gay parents aren’t as legitimate as heterosexual parents.

A: Because I don’t.


Q: Well why — do you view committed gay relationships as being less legitimate than committed heterosexual relationships?

A: As a Christian, I view relationships and marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Q: But what about the legitimacy of the relationship? Do you have any gay friends? Do you know gay couples?

A: Of course I do. Are we going to spend our whole day talking on this issue?

Q: I want to know how you feel about this.


Obvious equality issues aside, recent research does not support Handel’s view. Studies have shown that “children with same-sex parents show no significant differences compared with children in heterosexual homes when it comes to social development and adjustment” and a paper published last month showed that “children of lesbian mothers tend to do better than those in heterosexual families on certain measures.”

In April, “an Arkansas Circuit Court struck down a state law that banned unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children.” The law, clearly targeted at gay couples wishing to adopt, was found to be unconstitutional under the due process and equal protection clauses. An explicit gay adoption ban in Florida has also been found to be unconstitutional.

Charlie Eisenhood