Saturday, April 23, 2005

What Makes A Parent?

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The State Legislature of Texas is considering a first-of-its-kind bill, which would bar homosexuals from becoming Foster parents. The bill is controversial, with strong support and opposition. As the bill nears a deciding vote, it seems appropriate to weigh the real choices.

At the foundation, this issue is about children. The bill, it may be said, was intended to protect children from immoral influence, which makes sense if you accept the contention that homosexuality is immoral. However, even if homosexuality is considered immoral, we must weigh the effect of a decision either way.

Consider alcohol. The Congress established Prohibition during the 1920s, on the evidence that drunkness was hurting families, business, and simply killing people and creating serious health problems. Yet, the Amendment of Prohibition was repealed, and no one is barred as an adoptive parent, much less a Foster parent, on the question of whether they drink. If a parent has problems with excessive drinking, they can lose their custody, but drinking alone, whether or not it is immoral, does not disqualify a person as a parent.

Consider tobacco. There is a loud debate about the dangers of second-hand smoke, but there is no real doubt that smoking is one of the worst things a person can do for their health. Yet, it remains a plain fact that a person who smokes may make a fine parent, and there is no proscription against smokers becoming Foster parents.

On, then, to sexual behavior. It’s simple common sense to protect pre-pubescent children from sexual behavior of any kind. But that is just as true in heterosexual situations, as it would be in any possible homosexual situation. That is, any parent who engages in sexual behavior in the presence of children is doing wrong, regardless of the nature of that behavior. The line is clear, and any adult is restricted in his/her behavior by the presence of children.

What I’m saying is this: If one possible Foster parent is homosexual, a drinker, and smoker, but who does none of those things in the presence of chidren, they may be considered a better fit than someone who is heterosexual, but who allows children access to alcohol, tobacco, or who confronts children with sexual behavior, even heterosexual behavior. The effect in question is what the children are taught, not any behavior to which the children have no exposure.

So, I have to say I oppose this bill. If the bill prohibits behavior which endangers children, I’m all for that, but a sexual proclivity does not meet that level of threat. Homosexuals should only be barred from becoming Foster parents, if they expose children to sexual conduct, the same as Heterosexuals.

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