Children Will Suffer If Rick Santorum Is President

If the conservative Republican bans adoption by gay couples, tens of thousands of kids will be stuck in foster care

Rick Santorum is the best friend an orphanage ever had.

It’s clear he hates gay marriage, no news there for Pennsylvania’s most famous disdainer ofman on dogsex. But his near-win in the Iowa caucuses last week reminded us of something even more pernicious: He really hates gay parenting. And so it seems the most likely result of a Santorum presidency would be tens of thousands of children stranded in group homes and on foster care rosters—all because heterosexual parents can’t be found for them.

This sounds like hyperbole. It’s not.

Talk to adoption experts about gay parents, and you’ll hear a frequent refrain: While many—even most—prospective parents are looking for “healthy white babies” to adopt, it is gay couples who most often take the children no one else wants: Children with disabilities. Older children. Children with problems. “Overall,” one 2001 study found, “gay men and lesbians are more willing to consider and accept children with a broader range of difficulties.”

More recent numbers affirm that observation. A 2007 study by the Urban Institute drew on Census numbers to suggest that 21 percent of children adopted by gay men have a physical disability—compared to 2 percent of children adopted by the population at large. That’s an astonishing gap.

And an October report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute showed that more than 10 percent of children adopted by gays and lesbians are 6 years or older—”a population,” researchers noted, “generally perceived as more difficult to place.” Half the adoptees had spent time in foster care.

In other words: Gay and lesbian parents are doing damned hard work, providing loving homes to kids that few other people seem to want. They’re doing those kids—and society—a tremendous service. But you don’t hear even the tiniest acknowledgement of that from Rick Santorum.

Instead, this week he told a New Hampshire audience that children are better off with two heterosexual parents—even if one of the parents is in prison. “Even fathers in jail who had abandoned their kids,” Santorum said, “were still better than no father at all to have in their children’s lives.”

That follows his interview last year with the right-wing CNS news service in which he railed against gay adoption: “The state is not doing a service to the child and to society by not putting that child in a home where there is a mother and a father,” he said. “This is common sense. This is nature.”

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that Santorum is right. Let’s pretend there is no research showing that gays and lesbians are effective parents. Let’s pretend that Zach Wahls isnt the most awesome Eagle Scout ever. Let’s pretend there aren’t already 65,000 American families—including nearly 2,000 in Pennsylvania—made up of gays and lesbians and their adopted children. Let’s say a heterosexual mom and dad are the optimum arrangement for a young child.

So what?

The truth is that there are more than more than 100,000 American children waiting to be adopted—only half of whom actually find families in a given year. Heterosexual couples aren’t actually getting the job done. Santorum can talk all he wants about “nature,” but this is what happens when cubs are left to fend for themselves in the wild: They’re eaten by vultures. Even if Santorum’s right, Heather surely benefits far more by having two mommies than from having no mommies at all.

Why does this matter? Presidents don’t usually get involved in the nitty-gritty of adoption policy. That’s usually left to the states, right? The problem is that Santorum has made it clear that gay rights issues cannot be left to the states. And not coincidentally, Santorum’s church—which deeply influences his politics—has decided it would rather get out of the adoption business entirely rather than allow gay couples to benefit.

So it’s clear that a Santorum presidency would be a threat to thousands of gay families—and to tens of thousands of children hoping for a home of their own.

But it would be quite a boon for orphanages.



  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1611996472 Chuck

    Ever since Massachusetts becames the first state in the nation to allow Gay couples to legally marry, hundreds of thousands of Gay couples across the United States have either gotten married or registered their civil unions or domestic partnerships. These are law-abiding, taxpaying Gay Americans who have made a solemn pledge to one another before family and friends.

    But now along comes Rick Santorum and HIS pledge to forcibly DIVORCE those hundreds of thousands of couples. Santorum has made it abundantly clear that under HIS administration there will only be one law governing marriage in the United States, and that law will NOT apply to Gay couples. Santorum has unapologetically insisted that he wants all those legal marriages and civil unions and domestic partnerships to be declared null and void.

    The quest for marriage equality by Gay couples has absolutely nothing to do with Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples. Nothing is changing for them. Nothing is happening to “traditional marriage.” Most people are Straight, and they will continue to date, get engaged, marry and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that will change by allowing Gay couples to do the same. This is really not any sort of a “sea change” for marriage, since the only difference between Gay and Straight couples is the gender of the two persons in the relationship.

    While Rick Santorum may prefer to focus on the economy as we get closer to November, anyone who loves and supports their Gay friends, family members, and co-workers needs to take a hard look at the theocratic road Santorum intends to take us down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jgeleff Jerry

    This article is nothing more than propaganda and scare tactics. Santorum won’t win the nomination, which is a good thing, because he’s a religious nut of the first order. But even if he did, and went on to win the presidency, he couldn’t do this alone. In case you weren’t aware, there are two houses of the legislature that such a law would have to go through first, and it is my opinion that it wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance. So stop the fear mongering.

  • http://joelmathis.blogspot.com/ Joel Mathis

    Jerry, I agree that it’s unlikely Santorum becomes president. Nonetheless, he’s among the frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination. That makes it important to examine his positions and record carefully, instead of brushing him off as a “nut” with no chances. He has a chance.

    In case *you* weren’t aware: Presidents don’t just sign laws passed by Congress. The executive branch has a rule-making process for how various agencies hand out money and make regulations. There are tax credits made available for adoption, and the Department of Health and Human Services funds services provided by state and local governments. It probably doesn’t take much effort for a Santorum-run HHS to make it more difficult for gay couples to adopt, even if Congress didn’t go along. Be careful before being so dismissive.

  • peter1

    I agree that Santorum has little shot at the nomination, but don’t brush off his same-sex marriage stance. In fact, one could argue that the only reason that George Bush won the 2004 elections against Kerry was because the Republican Party was successful in getting the bigot wing of their party out to vote in several key states (like Ohio, which if it went the other way, would have resulted in a Kerry win), by getting a same-sex marriage ban initiative on the ballot.