The Coming Out
Miami Herald Report
Houses & Mortgages
for Gay & Lesbian
New Take on the
Gay Adoption Battle
FindLaw: Same Sex
By Same Sex Couples
Gay Adoption Stats
Love & Pride
Families Like Ours
Families Like Mine
Parents, Families and
Lesbians & Gays
Campus Pride Net
Gay & Lesbian
Is Your Child Gay?
Parenting Info for
Gays & Lesbians
Colage: Children of
Lesbians And Gays
LOVE IS LOVE
LGBT Family Issues
David McFarlane: How to Be a
Good Son When You're Gay
Essay: We Found Our Son in the
CNN: Gay People Live in Fifty
Dad's Note to Son About Coming
City With the Most LGBT Couples Raising Kids
REACTION TO DOMA
It's About Nothing More Than Family
/ Birmingham News
I was maybe 11 years old when my mom
sat me down to talk about my brother, Murray. It was the 70s, in the
parsonage of First United Methodist Church of Decatur, where my dad
served as senior pastor.
"Do you know what a homosexual is?" my mom asked.
My first reaction, of course, was Dear
God, No! I didn't want this conversation, I didn't need this
conversation, I wanted to be anywhere but there, talking homosexual
with my mom.
But I nodded, and my mother went on.
"Murray has told your father and me that he is, homo...er, well,...
gay," she said. "I'm not sure what it all means, but he is
still your brother – our son – and nothing has changed. We love
him." And that was it. Forever.
Pictured here: John Archibald's Father
(right) and his bother Murray (left).
So forgive me today if I do not quote
legal experts on what will happen now that the U.S. Supreme Court
has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Forgive me if I do not
consider the implications in Alabama or beyond, if I don't ponder
the future of wedded bliss in America, or in Alabama, where
enchantment for marriage is matched only by addiction to divorce.
Because I can't see the issue without seeing ... family.
It became clearer last week as we
buried my father. The funeral was right back there at First United
Methodist in Decatur. And Steve Elkins, my brother's
monogamous partner since I was 15 years old, sang "Shepherd Me O
God" at the funeral. And it was beautiful. And Murray spoke from
that pulpit where dad so often preached. And it was beautiful, too.
He told of dad's discipline and his ethics, his love for his God and
his family. And then, right there in a Southern church in the utter
silence, he described bringing Steve home to meet the family 35
Dad and mom welcomed him the same way they would later welcome my
own wife and the spouses of my other siblings. And it kept a
family alive. It kept a family together. It even restored my own
"During a period in my life when I felt that the church had turned
its back on me, I never felt that from my dad," Murray said from
that pulpit. "And the strong faith and deep relationship I have with
God today is built on his example."
Dad – good old, old school dad – would
never think of himself as a bold fighter for social justice. He did
not speak often of Murray being gay, except that once when he
gathered the strength to stand before thousands of Methodist
preachers debating the acceptance of gays. He argued for equality by
stating his undying belief that Jesus is love. And love is
unconditional. It was a losing argument, as it turned out. But it
was enough for us.
So forgive me today if I don't see a
threat to the sacrament of marriage. Forgive me if I cannot see the
looming danger of allowing gay people in committed relationships the
same privileges awarded the rest of us.
Because I see only my brother and the man I've considered a
brother-in-law for 70 percent of my life. I see the best uncles my
children could know. I see Murray and Steve, and when I do, I see a
lot more than gay men. I see a family.
(From John Archibald / His
column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Birmingham
News, and on AL.com. Email him at email@example.com)
CELEBRATING BEAUTIFUL FAMILIES
newsletter Huffington Post is featuring a
new series on their Gay Voices page entitled
week the webpage spotlights one family and
shares the story of their love and support
for each other.
Huff Post: Family Friday Series
Huff Post: Introducing Family Friday Series
Jason & Michael’s Family
Family Equality Council
Good News for Lesbian Parents
Gay Foster Parents
In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents
Me and My Gay Parents
LGBT Parents & Their Children: Resource List
One of the
speeches delivered at the 2012 Democratic
National Convention was from Zach Wahls, an
Iowa youth with lesbian parents who gained
notoriety for speaking out against a
proposed ban on marriage equality in his
state. He spoke before the Iowa House of
Representatives in February 2011 (A video of
his speech is posted below). He is
also an Eagle Scout who’s been pushing the
Boy Scouts to end its gay ban.
straight, said support for the right of gay
couples like his parents to marry is a
reason he’s supporting the re-election of
President Obama, who came out in favor of
marriage equality in May.
Obama understands that. He supports my moms’
marriage,” Wahls said. “President Obama put
his political future on the line to do what
was right. Without his leadership, we
wouldn’t be here. President Obama is
fighting for our families, all of our
families. He has our backs. We have his.”
cushioned his support for marriage equality
by saying the belief that nuptials should be
limited to one man, one woman shouldn’t be
considered “a radical view,” saying, “For
many people, it’s a matter of faith. We
didn’t stop Wahls from criticizing Romney
for opposing same-sex marriage and his
support for a Federal Marriage Amendment.
says he’s against same-sex marriage because
every child deserves a mother and a father,”
Wahls said. “I think every child deserves a
family as loving and committed as mine.
Because the sense of family comes from the
commitment we make to each other to work
through the hard times so we can enjoy the
good ones. It comes from the love that binds
us; that’s what makes a family. Mr. Romney,
my family is just as real as yours.”
LESBIAN FAMILIES IN THE SOUTH
Civil Rights Museum Photo Exhibit
Founded to teach
about human rights and the fight for equality during the days of racial
segregation, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute introduced a new
topic: Lesbian awareness in the South. The museum displayed a
new exhibit March 30 - June 11 featuring photographs of lesbian couples
and families living in the Deep South.
During the two and half month timeframe
during which the exhibit ran, right out in front of the Birmingham Civil
Rights Institute building, just above the left shoulder of the statue of Rev Shuttlesworth, was a huge prominent banner advertising the show.
photographs in the exhibit
were straightforward and modest portraits of couples and families. The
subjects were parents, children, partners, lovers and friends. Some faced
the camera with frank and smiling faces. Others were paired in simple
embraces, linking hands, touching shoulders, circling waists, lightly
hugging. Still others were pictured with their backs to the camera,
shielding their identities from view. Caution felt necessary to some
of the women, as they are part of a groundbreaking exhibit,
“Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South.”
40 images in the show were stark
and plain, shot against a white background,
all large-scale color photographs, were created by
a longtime Birmingham resident and member of the city’s lesbian
want to open people’s hearts and minds to the value of LGBT families,”
Sherer says. “The idea was to put a face on the lesbian community, and
get a conversation started about injustice. Love and commitment looks
the same for everybody.”
Organizers say the
exhibition was meant to encourage civil dialogue about inclusion and
equality in Birmingham. While lesbians are the focus of the
exhibit, titled “Living in Limbo: Lesbian Families in the Deep South,”
professional photographer Carolyn Sherer said her work also is meant to
encourage greater inclusion for gay men, bisexuals and people who are
“We’re hoping to
start a conversation about equality for everyone,” said Sherer. She has
never before acknowledged her homosexuality publicly, but the exhibit
includes a photo of her and her partner.
The art exhibition
was the first at the 20-year-old Civil Rights Institute to feature
homosexuals. The longtime president of the museum, Lawrence J Pijeaux
Jr., said Thursday he has received more than 125 emails in support of
the exhibit and just one complaint. While the downtown
institute is best known for its focus on civil rights, Pijeaux said the
exhibit fits its overall theme of promoting human rights.
Birmingham Civil Rights
Washington Post: Ala Civil Rts Museum shows Photos of Lesbian Families
Living in Limbo: Lesbian Photo Exhibit at Bham Civil Rts Institute
Boy Raised By Two Mothers
orientation of my parents had had zero
effect on my character." Those were
the words of Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old
University of Iowa student who spoke about
the strength of his family during a public
forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the
Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two
mothers, and came to oppose House Joint
Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in
Zach Wahls Speech
Bring Up LGBT Subjects
Sometimes moms can face big questions while driving kids
around. The carpool kids in the back seat seem to ask all manner
of interesting questions. What happens when they bring up LGBT
topics like same-sex marriage? Lee
Rose Emery is the writer of the award-winning blog,
Tips From the Carpool Lane.
Deep conversations with my kids seem to always arise in
the car. "The most important thing about marriage," I told my kids when
the subject came up, "is that you pick someone who is kind, and who
really loves you."
My son (then 6) replied, "Then I would definitely NOT
marry John (his friend who punches.) My older daughter (then 8) said,
"Boys can't marry boys," to which my son responded, "But Noah has two
I had thought this was going to be an uncomplicated ride home.
My son's preschool friend, Noah, indeed does have two
dads, who have become very much a part of our inner circle of friends.
Yet, in that moment in the car, my mind immediately jumped to the
subject of the birds and the bees, and I started to feel unsure about
what the kids' next questions would be, and how to thoughtfully and
I decided to poll a range of parents and ask an expert to
see how they would discuss the topic of nontraditional families with
Laurie, 20, mother of two, from Massachusetts, says she
has not discussed the topic but it has been on her mind.
"Our town is homogeneous and traditional. In not
mentioning that there are alternative lifestyles, I worry that the kids
will just assume that the traditional family structure is the 'right
way'. I want to expose them to other ways of life, but I don't want it
to be artificial. My brother converted to Catholicism, and his views are
becoming more and more conservative. We don't see them a lot, but as the
kids get older I wonder what they are going to hear."
A Los Angeles parent wrote to me, "I did have this
conversation in the framework of families ... because he is exposed to
that in our life. My son is 6 and one client has two children with her
partner. My son was more concerned with the science of it. Which one was
the No. 1 mommy? He thought the woman who carried the child would be the
No. 1 mommy but was going to clarify who that was next time he saw my
client. I told him that wasn't a polite question to ask. Unsure if that
was the right thing to say or not. He does not know about the birds and
the bees but has observed that most kids have some identifiable parent
of both sexes."
Parenting expert Betsy Brown Braun said, "There is
nothing loaded about this for kids ... it is loaded for parents, as it
challenges our ability to discuss our own feelings ... we are all
victims of the attitudes and worlds in which we were raised."
Braun says how parents approach the topic of difference
and how they communicate that to their children will either teach them
to accept difference or not.
Braun, the author of "You're
Not the Boss of Me: Brat-proofing Your Four- to Twelve-Year-Old Child,"
also stressed that when the subject of same-sex couples arises it need
not be a conversation about sexuality or reproduction, but instead about
Heather, 37, from Massachusetts, has a 9-year-old adopted
daughter. Her daughter knows some children with same-sex parents from
school, but no questions have come up on the topic.
Heather says, "My faith is something that is very
important to me, and it (same-sex partnership) is something I don't
believe in, but I also feel that it is not my job to judge." Should the
topic arise, Heather said she would discuss it as a choice that some
I called Noah's dad, Greg, and asked what his kids (he
also has an 8-year-old daughter) say to other kids about their family.
"When Noah and his sister meet a new friend and they ask
who their mommy is, they say, 'I don't have a mommy. I have two dads.' "
The daughter says she acts as if it is a matter of fact, as if it is the
silliest question in the world.
Noah's dad went on to say, "Adults get nervous about
talking about it because they're thinking the kids are talking about
sex." (Just as I had that day in the car.) "It's not about sex," he
said, "It's about interpersonal relationships."
Rebecca, from Los Angeles, said: "We have two young
children (ages 3½ and 20 months.) And we also have some same-sex couple
friends. We have never directly addressed the question, although we
surely would if the kids asked. My view is that we do not directly
address male-female couples so why treat same-sex couples any
differently? We treat our same-sex couple friends and refer to them the
same way we do for any other couple. For instance, Dan and Mark are
usually discussed as a single unit, just like Jane and Jack."
Keeping the conversation on the level of personal choice
rather than sexuality makes it something kids can understand. But what
if kids do want to know about the science and the logistics of how a
child could be conceived without a man and a woman?
With young children, Braun says, "Keep it simple. To make
a baby you need a part from a man and a woman."
Greg tells his children, "Two men can't have a baby, so
we found a woman who was willing to help us."
Traditional family does not exist in the same way that it
used to. My kids have friends with single parents, stepparents, adoptive
parents and gay parents.
Dr. Gloria Walther, author and director of the Walther
Pre-School in Los Angeles, advises that when we speak to our young
children, "We use a larger brush stroke to define family. The true thing
is a family is made up of adults and children that love and trust. That
intimate circle of family is defined by the people in it."
Lee Rose Emery, CNN)
WHO'S A FAMILY?
New Study Tracks Shifting US Views
As much as
Americans revere the family, they differ
sharply on how to define it. New research
being released Wednesday shows steadily
increasing recognition of unmarried couples
— gay and straight — as families. But
there's a solid core resisting this trend
who are more willing to include pets in
their definition than same-sex partners.
is defined is a crucial question on many
levels. Beyond the debate over same-sex
marriage, it affects income tax filings,
adoption and foster care practices, employee
benefits, inheritance rights and countless
research on the topic is contained in a
book-length study, "Counted Out: Same-Sex
Relations and Americans' Definition of
Family" and in a separate 2010 survey
overseen by the book's lead author, Indiana
University sociologist Brian Powell.
and 2010, three surveys conducted by
Powell's team showed a significant shift
toward counting same-sex couples with
children as family — from 54 percent of
respondents in 2003 to 68 percent in 2010.
In all, more than 2,300 people were
the changing attitudes to a 10 percent rise
between 2003 and 2010 in the share of survey
respondents who reported having a gay friend
indicates a more open social environment in
which individuals now feel more comfortable
discussing and acknowledging sexuality,"
Only about one-third of those surveyed said
they considered same-sex couples without
children to be a family. And in 2006, when
asked if gay couples and pets count as
family, 30 percent said pets count but not
idea that gay couples are given less status
than pets should give us pause," Powell said
in an interview.
In the 2010
survey, 83 percent of the respondents said
they perceived unmarried heterosexual
couples with children as a family; only 40
percent extended that recognition to
unmarried straight couples without children.
In line with
several recent national opinion polls,
Powell's 2010 survey showed a near-even
split on same-sex marriage — with 52 percent
supporting it and 48 percent opposed.
five states and the District of Columbia now
allow same-sex marriages, the federal
government doesn't recognize them. The
Census Bureau definition of "family" remains
traditional: "A family is a group of two
people or more (one of whom is the
householder) related by birth, marriage, or
adoption and residing together."
conservatives hope the government sticks by
that definition, even in the face of shifts
in public opinion.
marriage is a dangerous social experiment,"
said Glenn Stanton, director of family
formation studies for Focus on the Family.
"A lesbian couple who legally married in
Massachusetts — are they family? We would
say, 'Absolutely not.'"
it was increasingly difficult to engage in
serious debate on the definition question.
in this headlong direction toward same-sex
families without any intelligent discussion
about whether it's actually good for the
children and the adults," he said. "This
whole issue has boiled down to, 'Are you a
bigot or not?'"
described in Powell's research pleased
Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the
Family Equality Council, which advocates on
behalf of same-sex families.
taking a more expansive view of what a
family is," said Chrisler. "But for any
family that doesn't fit the 1960s Ozzie and
Harriet mold, slow and steady doesn't feel
her wife, Cheryl Jacques, a former
Massachusetts state senator, are raising
Equality Council has been lobbying on behalf
of a bill pending in Congress that would
prohibit states and child welfare agencies
from denying adoption or foster care
placements solely based on the sexual
orientation or marital status of the
The bill is
targeted at states such as Florida, which
bans gays and lesbians from adopting — a
policy now being challenged in court.
introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., has
been applauded by the Alternatives to
Marriage Project because it encompasses
single people as well as same-sex couples.
frequent letters and e-mails from people who
find the political rhetoric of 'family' to
be extremely exclusive of singles," said the
project's executive director, Nicky Grist.
"For singles, it might be a code for 'You
the major finding of his new research is the
shifting view of same-sex families — which
he compared to the gradual acceptance of
"We envisage a
day in the near future when same-sex
families also will gain acceptance by a
large plurality of the public," he wrote.
His book was
published by the Russell Sage Foundation, a
social science research center, as part of a
series overseen by the American Sociological
were conducted by telephone, among a random
selection of households, and the
characteristics of the samples were compared
with census data to verify that they were
representative. There were 712 interviews in
2003, 815 in 2006 and 830 this year.
NPR Report: Who's A Family?
About: How Many Children Have Gay Parents?
Tips for Gay or Lesbian Parents
Gay Family Support
APA: Lesbian & Gay Parenting
To My Kid
Gay Marriage Statistics
LA Times: Children Thrive Equally in Gay or
Urban Institute: Gay & Lesbian Families in
Advocate: Acceptance Growing for Gay
Helping Your Children Explain to Their
Friends What it Means to Have Two Mommies or
Gay Family Values
Healthy Children: Gay & Lesbian Parents
FAMILY & RELATIONSHIP STATS
Data About LGBT Families
A recent study reported that 55.5% of gay
men and 71.2% of lesbians were in steady
An estimated 6 million to 14 million
children have a lesbian or gay parent.
Courts in 11 states have ruled that gay men
and lesbians, on the basis of their sexual
orientation, are unfit to receive custody of
A review of 9 studies of aspects of personal
development--such as self-concept, moral
judgment, and intelligence-revealed no
significant difference between children of
lesbians and gay men and children of
STRUGGLE TO BE A FAMILY
With an Asterisk
Cara Palladino and Isabella Baker
were married in Massachusetts and live now in Philadelphia with
their son Will Palladino.
When government forms
inquire of her marital
status, Isabelle Barker
sometimes resorts to an
asterisk and an
She and her wife, Cara
Palladino, got married
five years ago (2005) in
months later, for job
reasons, they moved to
Pennsylvania, one of the
majority of states that
do not recognize
Hence the asterisk.
"I'm not single. I'm
Massachusetts, but I'm
not married in
Pennsylvania, I'm not
married in the eyes of
the federal government,"
she said. "It's this
weird limbo, this legal
Barker and Palladino,
and their 15-month-old
son, Will, have plenty
of company across the
United States as gay and
lesbian couples confront
an unprecedented and
patchwork of marriage
Historically, such laws
have been the
jurisdiction of the
states, not the federal
government, and the
throughout U.S. history
has been for any given
state to recognize a
legally in another
The advent of same-sex
marriage in 2004 has
changed all that.
Five states —
New Hampshire and Iowa —
and the District of
Columbia have legalized
same-sex marriage. New
York and Maryland
marriages even though
same-sex couples cannot
wed within their
borders. California had
legal same-sex marriage
for about five months in
However, the federal
government does not
marriage, nor do the
rest of the 50 states,
Even with a valid
license, gay and lesbian
couples in those states
face uncertainty, extra
legal bills and
inevitable rebuffs that
Barker and Palladino,
who began dating in
1998, moved from New
York to Massachusetts in
2004 and were married in
February 2005 in a
low-key ceremony at a
Northampton coffee shop.
They had previously
rings. The chief motive
for marrying was to
obtain health insurance
for Barker through
Palladino's job at the
Later in 2005, Barker's
own academic job ended
and she was offered a
at Bryn Mawr College
The couple decided to
move, although they knew
there would be
people understood what
our relationship was,"
Palladino said. "I miss
being able to say, 'Oh,
we're married' and not
having to explain it any
"When you're in
constantly having to
wonder, 'Do they get
this? Do they not get
this?'" she said. "You
get these looks of
Day to day, there is
plenty of support from
friends, neighbors and
programs at Bryn Mawr,
and Palladino is a
fundraiser at the
Philadelphia. They feel
comfortable in their
Airy, and send Will to a
patronized by several
other lesbian couples.
But frustration was
evident as they told of
the hoops they had to
jump through, at extra
cost, to amass legal
documents they would not
have needed in
a second-parent adoption
parental rights along
with Barker, who is
At their lawyer's
advice, the two women
have stored their legal
forms on flash drives
that they carry
"We're 12 years into our
said. "I'd just like to
know when we're done
proving it over and
over. ... To have to
work harder and save
harder to make up for
what everybody else gets
just as an entitlement
does really make me
On Line Athens Article
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell
Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell were married in San Francisco in 2004. Rosie
appeared on Good Morning America and called President Bush's statement
against same-sex marriages, "the most vile and hateful words ever spoken
by a sitting president." Rosie and
her partner Kelli have been together since 1998. Kelli changed her last
name from Carpenter to O'Donnell.
O'Donnell was born in 1962 to Edward and Roseann O'Donnell. Rosie's
mother died of breast cancer when she was 10 years old. She
describes the time of her mother's death as extremely difficult.
Star Search: Rosie toured comedy clubs
from 1979-1984. She was a comedy champion on the TV show Star
Search and hosted Stand-Up Spotlight on VH1.
Movie Credits: Rosie has appeared in
the following movies:
League of Their Own -1992
Seattle - 1993
A Very Brady Sequel
Talk Show Host: Rosie
hosted The Rosie O'Donnell Show from 1996-2002. She
won an Emmy in 1998 for Outstanding Talk Show.
Son Parker Jaren
adopted in 1995
Daughter Chelsea Belle
adopted in 1997
Son Blake Carpenter
adopted in 1999
O'Donnell born to Rosie's partner Kelli Carpenter in 2002
Married!: Rosie has been with her
partner Kelli Carpenter since 1998. They married in San Francisco on
February 26, 2004 as one of more than 3,000 couples who tied the
knot after Mayor Gavin Newsom declared gay unions legal in that
Coming Out: Rosie came out in March
2002 in an interview with Diane Sawyer on Primetime Thursday.
Magazine: Rosie walked away from
Rosie magazine in 2002 claiming she had lost editorial control.
Rosie the Activist: Rosie decided to
come out as a lesbian after learning the plight of a gay couple from
Florida who were not allowed to adopt the foster children they were
raising. Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau have several foster children
that they wish to adopt. The laws in Florida do not allow for
same-sex couples to adopt. Rosie told Diane Sawyer, "I don't think
America knows what a gay parent looks like. I am a gay parent."
Rosie was appalled
during her trial with her magazine that her partner Kelli was called
to testify against her. Married spouses are protected from
testifying against each other. Rosie said, "We applied for spousal
privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything
that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail,
every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record,"
O'Donnell said. "After the trial, I am now and will forever be a
total proponent of gay marriage."
(From Kathy Belge, Lesbian Life, About.Com)
GAY ADOPTION STATS
Debate Over Same Sex Couples Seeking
In support of adoption by gays and lesbians, the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and adoption
advocacy groups cite research that children with gay or lesbian parents
fare as well as those raised in families with a mother and a father.
Conservative groups such as Concerned Women for America say the research
Children in foster care "are
already scarred" by abuse and neglect, says Bill Maier, a child psychologist
with the conservative Focus on the Family. "We would want to do everything we
could to place them in the optimal home environment."
There are about 520,000 children in foster care, according to the North American
Council on Adoptable Children in St. Paul. Of those, 120,000 are available for
adoption, but only 50,000 find permanent homes each year.
"The child welfare system is already in crisis," said Rob Woronoff of the CWLA.
"We don't have enough families as it is."
Actress and comedian Rosie O'Donnell, a foster parent in Florida who helped lead
a failed effort in 2004 to overturn that state's ban on gay adoptions, said in
an interview that gays and lesbians are often willing to take children that
straight couples won't. She said she once cared for a girl who had been in 30
foster homes and who was later adopted by a friend.
"As a gay person, as a child, you
kind of know what it's like to be the odd one out," said O'Donnell, a lesbian
who has four adopted children, including one born to her partner, Kelli
Carpenter O'Donnell. "To deny people the right to try to reach kids who are
unreachable is wrong."
The government doesn't keep statistics on adoptions by gays and lesbians. Gary
Gates, a UCLA demographer who studies gays and lesbians, analyzed 2000 Census
data and estimates that about 250,000 children are being raised by same-sex
couples and that 5% of those children, or 12,500, were adopted.
The push against adoption by lesbians and gay men comes after successful
campaigns in 11 states in 2004 to define marriage as a union between a man and a
woman. At least six more states — Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, South Carolina, South
Dakota and Wisconsin — may put marriage on the ballot in the near future.
But if gay marriage unites most conservatives in opposition, gay adoption does
not. Already, there are splits among Republicans.
"This is not an issue about gays,"
says Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican, who was adopted as a child.
"This is about children." Although he favored legislation to ban same-sex
marriage in Ohio, he opposes the adoption bill and has no plans to schedule a
hearing to discuss it.
Recent polling by Democratic consultant Peter Hart for the Human Rights
Campaign, a gay rights group, also indicates the issue may not find favor among
the general public. Asked about a constitutional amendment to ban adoptions by
gays and lesbians, 58% of Missouri voters and 62% of Ohio voters said they would
vote against it.
"Conservatives may well overreach if they try to ban gays from adopting
children," Brookings Institution political analyst Thomas Mann says. "Americans
have become more tolerant of same-sex relations, and this action may strike them
as unnecessarily punitive."
(From USA Today)
Same Sex Pair Seek Court Okay to
A Mobile woman raising a baby boy with the child's mother wants to adopt
him as a second parent, a legal step of significance in a state that
just passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages.
partner, Kim McKeand, gave birth to the baby boy in December with the
aid of a donor. Searcy then sought to become the adoptive parent of the
child, who bears her last name. Adoption would give Searcy rights to
make medical decisions for the child as well as securing the sense of
family in their home.
But Searcy's application was denied in probate court May 3. McKeand said
the judge ruled against adoption because Alabama does not recognize
same-sex marriages. She said their case is now going to the Alabama
Court of Civil Appeals.
Cari Searcy (left) and Kim McKeand with Khaya Ray Searcy in
Mobile (AP Photo by
"We're going to do whatever we can to get it passed here," Searcy said.
"It is discouraging when we think about the current environment against
gays in our state, but I have to believe that somewhere in our court
system there are still fair-minded judges."
McKeand, 28, and Searcy, 30, who met at college in Texas and moved to
Mobile five years ago, have real concerns about the medical care of the
baby, Khaya Ray Searcy. The child was born with a hole in his heart and
the first weeks were difficult.
"He had to have open heart
surgery in Atlanta and we ran into some issues with my not being a legal
parent," Searcy said. "It was really hard." McKeand said she had to
learn how to insert a feeding tube in Khaya's nose before they could
bring him home from the hospital. Because she didn't feel comfortable
doing the procedure, Searcy volunteered to learn. But the nurses would
not teach her.
"They said, 'No, you're not the parent, Kim is,' " McKeand said.
"Finally it took our doctor — the cardiologist — to step in and say it
was OK." Khaya now has a clean bill of health, but the couple has
not forgotten the experience.
"That's what really pushed me to get this second parent adoption," said
The legal resolution of
the court case might have a wide impact — according to 2000 census data,
there are gay families in every county in the state. And the issue is
not confined to Alabama.
"It's happening all over the country," said Adam Pertman, executive
director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
"It's happening because the agencies responsible for those kids have
decided that the gay and lesbian population is one worth placing kids."
The New York-based institute, which is not affiliated with any gay
rights organizations, released a report in March that found there is no
child-centered reason to prevent gays and lesbians from becoming
"Research shows gay and lesbian parents provide good homes," Pertman
Support for children...
He said the community
should support the children no matter what kind of family they grow up
"Bringing our views or prejudices on the kids is not productive," he
said. "The community should support a system that places kids in
permanent, safe and loving homes. We have to support that for the sake
of the kids." The American Academy of Pediatrics supports
legislation and legal efforts to provide second-parent adoptions by
same-sex parents. The Alabama chapter of the academy believes all
children benefit from being raised by caregivers who are constant,
dependable, loving and dedicated to children's safety.
According to an article in the July edition of Pediatrics, in early 2006
efforts were under way in at least 16 states including Alabama to
introduce constitutional amendments prohibiting gay and lesbian
individuals and couples from adopting children or being foster parents.
"Same-sex parenting is a controversial issue in our country," Linda Lee,
executive director of the Alabama chapter, said. "Our main concern is
that children, regardless of the circumstances in which they live,
receive the best of care."
Two parents better...
Jonathan Klein, associate
professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester in New York,
contributed to the July article and is the chair of the AAP Committee on
"I think evidence on the developmental outcome of children shows that,
overall, two parents are probably better than one," Klein said. He also
said that parents with established legal custody have a variety of
benefits that isn't always available to same-sex couples even if they're
playing that role in a child's life.
"I think if parents are not able to be involved in all aspects of their
communities because of a community's attitudes, that potentially damages
families," Klein said.
Searcy and McKeand talked about being parents, but it wasn't until about
a year ago that they felt it was the right time. "We found a donor who
is a really good friend of ours and he signed over all his rights,"
They enjoy a measure of acceptance in Mobile. Searcy works for a video
production company and McKeand works for a broadcaster that provides
domestic partner health benefits covering them both. "Our home is a
normal one," said Searcy.
"It's filled with love, commitment and support. Our sexual orientation
is just a small part of who we are. Kim and I are dedicated to giving
Khaya the best life possible and we're going to do what it takes to do
Thomas, Associated Press)
PRAYER FOR BOBBY
The Story of a Mother's Grief
In 1989, Leroy Aarons read a newspaper story about a
young man's suicide. Particularly striking to him was
the mother, Mary Griffith, who had tried throughout her
son's adolescence to "pray away" his "gay nature". Bobby
Griffith suffered enormously from his family’s lack of
support and the condemnation of his church. At age 20,
he jumped to his death from a freeway bridge in
Mary was transformed by her loss and eventually
renounced the rigid religious beliefs that had kept her
from fully accepting Bobby during his lifetime.
The Griffiths' story resonated with Aarons' own
transformation as an openly gay journalist and
After Bobby’s death, his mother became an iconic
activist for the national association Parents, Families
and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG),
urging parents to understand and accept their children's
"This extraordinary conversion touched me as deeply as
the tale of Bobby’s tragic death," Aarons wrote. "What
enabled her to transcend her background and perform what
could only be described as acts of courage."
After leaving daily journalism in 1991, Aarons began to
explore the Griffiths' stories in depth.
Prayers for Bobby: A
Mother’s Coming to Terms With the Suicide of Her Gay Son—Aarons'
first book—was published by
in 1996. A film adaptation, Prayers for Bobby,
debuted on January 24, 2009, on Lifetime TV.
Book: Prayers for
Bobby (Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her
Prayers for Bobby
Lifetime TV: Prayers
for Bobby (TV Movie)
CYNDI LAUPER & HER LESBIAN SISTER
Interview With Cyndi and Elen
Cyndi & Elen Lauper Talked About First
Crushes, Fairness & Cousin Vinny’s Wedding in Summer 2006 Edition of
MRC's Equality Magazine.
There you are, flying across midtown Manhattan at sunset in a town
car with the Lauper sisters. Cyndi is talking about growing up in Queens
— the family going fishing at the break of day, at the insistence of
their father, and then staying to see the very last colors of the sky,
as insisted by their mom.
The car barrels around the
corner. Everyone’s laughing. Over dinner, Cyndi and Elen talk about
everything — their Sicilian grandmother, their first guitar, Cyndi’s
son, Elen’s first big crush. Cyndi advises you to put some Parmesan on
your pasta. Once or twice, she grins and breaks out into a little song.
Both women are smart, compassionate and unafraid to say what they think.
They’re at ease with each other — and most importantly, themselves.
Elen has come in for the
weekend from southern California, where she lives with her partner and
has her own acupuncture and Chinese herbology practice.
Currently, Cyndi is starring in her first Broadway role ever — as Jenny
in Bertolt Brecht’s renowned The Threepenny Opera. Over the
years, the singer has tackled everything from coming out to the
complications of a drag queen’s double life to abortion. And her voice
is still a force to be reckoned with.
Recently, she performed at the Nobel Peace Concert, toured with Cher and
was nominated for a 2005 Grammy award for her interpretation of the song
And the fans, don’t you know, still hang around outside the back stage
door for a good two hours, waiting to catch a glimpse of Cyndi. Once an
icon, always an icon.
When you two were growing up, you learned about the importance of
acceptance, of speaking out.
Our mother learned by listening to John Kennedy in his speeches. And
what she learned from the era, she tried to instill in us.
We came from an immigrant family. We came here for a better life. Our
mother and father were first-generation Americans. We learned from that.
were very fortunate. Our parents loved the arts and loved to read, to go
to museums — always learning. We listened to classical music as kids. My
mother loved to dance. She loved “Afternoon of the Faun” by Debussy.
When we were kids, at night, we would go to sleep listening to it.
Our mother always said, “You have to have faith in yourself.” What drove
me during that time of civil rights was that I saw such injustice
against women. Of course, the law never protected women then. You’ve got
to know your history, and when you know your history and where you came
from, you know you must never allow that to happen again.
Yes, and efforts to discriminate keep coming. Like the anti-gay Federal
Marriage Amendment, which says that marriage is only between a man and a
It’s the first time a group would have something taken away from them,
under the Constitution.
Elen, tell us about your coming out.
Elen: I was so confused. I left home to figure out who I was.
One of the things we don’t address much in the gay community is our own
internalized homophobia. It’s not just the prejudices of the
environment, our family, our friends, our schools. It’s also the kind of
stuff we internalize. It’s a process of becoming comfortable with
yourself. When you can do that, then it’s a much easier thing to tell
people around you what’s going on. When I actually told Cyndi I was gay,
she just said, “Yeah, you didn’t know?” When I told my mother, she had
to think a minute. She didn’t see it. She didn’t get it. Not because she
was a bad person — she just had no exposure.
And when we told our grandmother…
Really? You told her? I didn’t tell.
Who was your first crush, Elen?
Annette Funicello! [Laughter.]
Cyndi was quite accepting of you as a lesbian…
Well, it was our mother who told us that no matter who you are, “You’re
my kids, even if you come riding in on horseback.”
Our father did too. That’s where we got it from. We were very fortunate.
Elen, now what is it that you have to be accepting of about Cyndi?
[Interrupts.] Oh, lots of stuff. The fact that I used to like pink. The
fact that I wanted to wear all her clothes.
Anything that not many people may know about you, Cyndi?
there anything you haven’t said?
Well, I listen to ABBA sometimes…