Not everything coming out of the House of Representatives lately is toxic. Here's something to get excited about: 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 bill would restrict federal funding to states that discriminated against potential adoptive parents on that basis. It was introduced Tuesday by California Rep. Pete Stark, and will be introduced by New York's Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate.
Here's a handy map of statewide laws. Of course, it doesn't include the battles underway in various states: Virginia's board of social services recently rejected a ban on groups discriminating against gay couples wanting to adopt; Arizona has a new law giving married couples preference over "singles," intended to exclude gay couples. (Also, Florida's explicit ban on gay adoption was overturned last year, as was Arkansas's.)
Rick Santorum recently did what Rick Santorum is good at doing, which is neatly distill bigotry to its ugliest form, saying,
A lesbian woman came up to me and said, ‘why are you denying me my right?' I said, ‘well, because it's not a right.' It's a privilege that society recognizes because society sees intrinsic value to that relationship over any other relationship.
In response, Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Equality Council, issued this statement:
"What planet does he live on? The simple truth is that today's modern American family is made up of all types of configurations. One in four children in this country is currently being raised by a single parent. Two and a half million families are headed by single dads and one a half million kids are being raised by grandparents. The only traditional family unit that exists is in the 1950s show 'Ozzie and Harriet' and in Rick Santorum's head. How dare he question the ability of single parents to provide loving stable homes to their children? How dare he!"
And at a press conference announcing the bill, Stark said, "Rick who? There was a guy in Congress years ago named Santorum, but I think he left. He lost, but [has been] following that path ever since. I think that's nonsense."
More than 500,000 children are in foster care and 120,000 of them available for adoption, according to Stark's office. So far, the White House has been cautiously supportive but stopped short of an endorsement.
Stark Introduces Adoption Anti-Discrimination Bill [Washington Blade]
LGBT Adoption Bill Introduced In The House [HP]