it’s probably going to be disregarded by some people — the ones who are mostly unreachable anyway — but the ACLU and the Child Welfare League of America have written the book on gay parenting; the newest one anyway, and it seems appropriate to mention it at the end of a week when there’s been a lot of discussion about the visibility of gay families.
"There are more than 100,000 foster children across the country in need of families," said Leslie Cooper, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project and one of the authors of the book. "As a society, we cannot afford to turn away the many lesbians and gay men who are willing and able to provide a loving home for a child."
Social scientists have been researching the children of lesbian and gay parents for more than 20 years. This rich body of research, summarized in the book, proves that parents’ sexual orientation and gender don’t matter to children’s development; what matters is having committed, nurturing parents.
Armed with government data as well as examples from state agency websites that include heartrending profiles of waiting children, the book explains that child welfare workers across the country are desperate to place the many children in need of homes. Child welfare policy requires that all potential adoptive parents be thoroughly screened. Laws that exclude gay people from consideration as adoptive or foster parents unnecessarily reduce the already insufficient pool of available homes.
There’s more information available here, and a PDF copy is avaiable here. It’s worth getting just to have all that data in one place, particularly all the statements from the professional associations (the Child Welfare League of America, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Association of Social Workers, North American Council on Adoptable Children, American Academy of Family Physicians) all against restrictions on gay parenting.
But my favorite section is the point by point take-down of the usual blather of people like the Family Research Council, Lou Sheldon, Mitt Romney, etc.