Volume 3, Number 37 - February 8, 2002
Pediatrics Groups Support Gay Adoption


   The announcement Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics that it believes gay men and lesbians should be allowed to adopt children heated up the debate over the issue in Florida, which has the strictest law against gay adoptions in the country.

   Florida's 1977 law has been upheld by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King and that decision has been appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court in Atlanta. The law bans all gay and lesbian adoptions, while similar laws in Mississippi and Utah do not apply to individuals, just to couples.

   The pediatricians' policy was released Monday in the organization's journal, Pediatrics.

   "There is a considerable body of literature that children with parents who are homosexual have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment and development as children whose parents are heterosexual," the policy states.

   "It's always nice when organizations and groups that ought to know wake up," said Elizabeth Schwartz, a Miami attorney who is a member of the legal team working on the appeal.

   "Gays have been parenting for generations. Now we're coming out, and we're going to do it whether the Christian right wants us to do it or not," she said.

   She said she was confident homosexual adoption forces would prevail in Florida whether it's in Legislature or in the courts, but it might take a while.

   "It's just a matter of time. It's already a reality,” she said. “We're going to parent."

   Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, said the policy ignores current research into the matter.

   "We lament the academy's decision and are disappointed that it opted for political correctness over scientific research," said Connor, a former Florida resident who ran for governor of the state in 1994.

   He said research has shown that when children have homosexual parents, there is a greater incidence of suicide, depression and domestic violence. He said there is a shorter life expectancy for the parents who frequently do not outlive the children.

   "I think Judge King was right when he said Florida had rational objections to gay adoption," he said.

   The suit was brought by three gay couples who are either foster parents or guardians -- Wayne Smith, Steve Lofton and Doug Houton. They are seeking full parental rights as well as more security for the children involved.

   Smith recalled that the judge noted there are 3,500 children in Florida awaiting adoption.

   "I know of one gay couple who would take two of them right now," said Smith, who lives in Key West, Fla. "When the state has an irrational, scientifically unsupportable law that prevents children from being adopted by perfectly loving, capable parents, the state is then guilty of abusing, abandoning and neglecting these children."
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
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