It seems one of the final frontiers in the struggle for equality for LGBT families is teaching the rest of the world that we are incredible parents and that our families not only deserve equality but are suffering without it.
Even some whom I once considered allies in our fight have said to me, "I think you should be able to get married, but I really believe children should have a mother and father," or, "Gay people should not be allowed to adopt." This belief stems from generations of lies that make people think of gays and lesbians as pedophiles. From public service announcements in the '50s to anti-gay hate groups scraping to connect the recent child rape tragedy at Penn State to gay men, we have never been at a loss for people who -- even subconsciously -- carry this ignorant defamation.
In 2005, I was lucky enough to go on Rosie O'Donnell's first "R Family Cruise." I watched shows and had conversations with LGBT parents, and I wished that some of the people who have spoken so falsely about us could see how much love there was on that ship. Almost every one of these children had to be fought for -- some parents lived in states where same-sex parent adoption was not legal, and some fought tooth and nail through divorces in which anti-gay judges refused custody because one parent was gay. And I thought, "How many heterosexual parents do I know who can truly say that they had to fight for their children -- legally -- in court? How many straight parents do I know had the state they live in tell them that they have no rights as a parent?"
Well, times are changing. Every reliable study that has been done has proven again and again that LGBT parents are just as (if not better) equipped to parent as opposite-gender parents. And a recent study released by the Family Equality Council shows us all the great inequalities our well-equipped families are facing all over the U.S. In the past decade, the number of lesbian and gay adoptive couples has tripled.
In states across the country, adoption agencies are still discriminating against gay and lesbian parents. In Virginia, a study was done by the previous governor that confirmed what every other reasonable study has found: that we make excellent parents. But of course, under the current anti-gay administration, all the scientific findings were dismissed, and the lesbian and gay adoption ban was left in place by Republican Governor Bob McDonnell -- this despite the fact that there are more than 6,000 children in the Virginia foster care system waiting for a forever home.
Catholic Charities has fought tooth and nail against states that require that adoption agencies treat all families equally. And after a hard-fought battle in Illionois, Catholic Charities has chosen to abandon up to 2,200 children instead of allowing them to be placed with capable, loving gay and lesbian parents. Several Catholic Charities Adoption Agencies have chosen to do the same in other states. Over and over again, the Catholic dioceses have made the conscious decision to abandon orphans and foster children rather than place them in loving, forever homes, based on nothing in their actual belief system.
As the Bible clearly says zero about lesbians and gays raising children, the choice to close down their agencies has nothing to do with their religion and everything to do with wrongfully held beliefs based on nothing but rumors and baseless fear tactics created decades ago. It is indeed heartbreaking to see those who claim "Christian" beliefs act so hatefully by leaving thousands of children with nothing to fall back on.
Fortunately, Catholic Charities represents a tiny sliver of all the adoptions that take place on a regular basis around the country, and the children represented by those agencies that close will be taken in by state agencies, which do not practice discrimination. So, at the end of the day, this is a good thing, and those kids will now have a much greater shot at finding their forever home.