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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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10/9/11  1:58 pm
Commenter: Greg Hatcher, a straight, happily married public school teacher

Just look at the facts.

The language of your proposed adoption laws is absurdly discriminatory against people who certainly are not handicapped in terms of being parents, and is going to be a headache for you for years to come.

You propose to severely limit the pool of prospective adoptive parents for no good reason. I've been teaching 6th and 7th grade for a couple of decades now and I assure you I've seen plenty of straight biological moms and dads who are TERRIBLE parents. There's a vast middle ground between "a family as happy and well-adjusted as The Waltons" and "Call Child Protective Services," where a teacher just has to watch the crappy parenting without taking action. I assure you there have been many, MANY times where a parent's sexual preference has adversely affected a child, but it has nothing to do with the parent's orientation. It has to do with a father's infidelity, or with a single mother's sexual addiction and a parade of 'uncles' through a home, or with an unhappy couple's love/hate co-dependent relationship, or a zillion other things. None of them are illegal. None of them are grounds for removing a child from a parent's care, except in the most extreme cases. And they have to be REALLY extreme, believe me.

So it's against THAT background that you are trying to claim that a gay couple are AUTOMATICALLY going to be bad parents. Based on what? Where's the science, the statistical tudies, or in fact anything other than an ingrained prejudice and a need for someone to have political cover on the issue? The fact that some politician somewhere needs to be able to claim that he's 'protecting the children' from those terrible gay people shouldn't outweigh your responsibility to ACTUALLY SERVE AND PROTECT CHILDREN that are your ACTUAL responsibility.

A llfetime of profesional experience teaching public school as well as my own experiences growing up has taught me that THE one factor in a child's family life, more than anything else, is stability in the home. Stabilty doesn't have anything to do with a parent's sexual orientation but it has EVERYTHING to do with a couple's commitment to one another.

A gay couple who are married or attempting to marry in the current climate are automatically more committed to their relationship than many straight couples are already, simply because the gay couple had to fight for the right to BE a couple in the first place. And that level of commitment already argues for an adopted child having a better chance for a happy home. Again, it's about stability-- in particular, EMOTIONAL stability. Kids don't do as parents SAY. They watch the behavior that's modeled for them, and I can tell you flatly that the single best thing any parent can do for their child is to love the person he or she is married to. Gay or straight.

Consider this. Progress always moves forward. Like giving women the vote, like civil rights for minorities, gay marriage is going to happen. It is already happening in other states. In five years, or ten years, it's going to be the law of the land. Period. Full stop.

What then? Are you still going to try and limit the rights of prospective parents and close off a significant number of potential loving homes for the children in your charge? Do you really just want to kick the can down the road another couple of years and have to revisit all of this then, looking even more bigoted and hidebound than you look to the rest of the country already? Or do you just want to handle it now and move on to the real issues confronting the people in the state? Why not put your energy into writing laws that actually HELP people, instead of wasting time trying to reinforce prejudices that have been repeatedly disproven over the last twenty years by medicine and family studies?

Do the right thing. Fix the old language so that gay couples can adopt as well. You would be doing the children of Virginia a considerable service and also save a significant amount of taxpayer money and legislative headache down the road. for yourselves, as well.

Thanks for listening.


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