By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
GREENSBORO — After Tar Heel voters amended the state’s constitution last month to confirm that marriage is between a man and a woman, homosexual activists are now attacking the state’s adoption laws with a suit filed Wednesday demanding that so-called “second parent” adoptions be legalized.
“North Carolina’s law denies children the permanency and secuirty of a loving home simply because their parents are lesbian or gay,” Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the media. The ACLU, representing six same-sex couples in the suit filed in federal court in Greensboro, contends that North Carolina laws, which do not allow unmarried couples to adopt, deprive children by excluding them from health insurance and other financial benefits. The suit, which targets three state judges as defendants, also said children of same-sex couples risk losing their relationship with their “second parent” if something happens to their legal one.
“While these folks are arguing that our laws deprive children of financial or legal benefits, we would suggest that it is their relationships that initially and ultimately deprive children of either a mother or a father,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “No amount of legal rights or health benefits, nor a stack of adoption decrees is a suitable substitute for what these children really need.”
The issue of “second parent” adoption came to the forefront in North Carolina more than two years ago when former state Sen. Julia Boseman sued her ex-partner over custody of the woman’s biological son. The women from New Hanover County had seemingly successfully circumvented the state’s adoption laws by traveling to Durham to find a judge who would allow a legal parent to sign a waiver that supposedly deemed his or her parental rights still valid even as a “second parent,” not married to the first, was also granted rights.
The adoptions were clearly illegal, and the state Supreme Court said so in a 2010 ruling that decried “this new form of judicially-created adoption” and upheld the state’s adoption laws.
“Adoption is a statutory creation. Until the legislature changes the provision of Chapter 48, we must recognize the statutory limitations on the adoption decrees that may be entered,” wrote Justice Paul Newby in the High Court opinion.
In short, North Carolina law allows for three kinds of adoption: direct placement, agency adoption and stepparent adoption. In the first two, the rights and duties of the biological parent are terminated as part of the adoption. In the final one, the adopting parent must be the spouse of the child’s parent. As a result, neither unmarried heterosexual couples nor homosexual ones qualify to adopt though individual single people may.
The 54-page lawsuit filed this week seeks to force the state to allow children to legally have two moms or two dads. The ACLU reported that 13 states already permit second-parent adoption.
“The ACLU’s lawsuit would take the emphasis off of marriage as a pre-requisite for adoption and is an attempt to go around the will of the people,” said attorney Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the N.C. Values Coalition.
“This is a potentially a foot in the door to attack our marriage laws. The ACLU is attempting to force same-sex adoption and ultimately same-sex marriage on the State of North Carolina through the courts, even though 61 percent of the people of the state voted just over a month ago to affirm marriage as the union of only a man and a woman by placing that definition in the State Constitution,” added Fitzgerald, who led the state’s push for the marriage amendment as chairman of Vote FOR Marriage NC. “The ACLU lost at the ballot box, so now it has decided to circumvent the will of the people by using the federal courts to override our State Constitution.”
Dr. Creech said that, thankfully, lawmakers in North Carolina have made clear their intent regarding adoption and the formation of stable families best suited for child-rearing.
“We do agree with the plaintiffs in this case on one point and that is that children need two parents,” he added. “But, as God’s plan for marriage and family reveals, it can’t be just any two parents. Children need a mother and a father.”
An amicus brief filed in the 2010 case by the Christian Action League and other organizations pointed out “Childrearing studies have consistently shown that children are more likely to thrive emotionally, mentally, and physically in a home with married parents of differing sexes.”
“These scientific results rest on the intuitive and well-supported principle that children benefit from close, daily interaction with both a male and a female,” the brief continued. Not surprisingly, studies have also shown that same-sex parenting has deleterious effects on children. For example, children raised by same-sex couples are more likely than those raised by opposite-sex couples to initiate sexual activity at earlier ages, to have more sexual partners, and to experiment with homosexual behavior.
Further expounding on the benefits of the traditional family, the amicus brief stated, “Despite all the modern advances in medical technology, it still ultimately takes a mother and a father to produce natural children. Inherent in the State’s adoption public policy, then, is the common sense notion that it is in the best interests of all children to be brought up, as natural children are, in a home with a married mother and father.”
It pointed out that Chapter 48 of the state’s legal code contains 13 references to “married,” 22 references to “mother” and 29 references to “father.”
“It appears that the legislative intent was to promote adoption of minor children into a traditional family consisting of a mother and a father who are married,” the brief concluded.
Although media reports about the ACLU lawsuit say that the State Supreme Court “banned” second-parent adoptions in 2010, both Fitzgerald and attorney Deborah Dewart pointed out that N.C. law has never allowed for this type of adoption.
“The law hasn’t changed; the Supreme Court just interpreted it properly,” Dewart said.
“Some district court judges in Durham County violated the law by granting these adoptions for a brief period, but the N.C. Supreme Court corrected their misapplication of the law by issuing a firm decision in Boseman v. Jarrell,” Fitzgerald said.
She said that it is ironic that a suit would be filed seeking to establish the right of same-sex couples to adopt children in North Carolina in the same week in which two independent studies published in “Social Science Research” found that children raised by same-sex parents fare substantially worse than children raised in a family with a married mom and a dad.
“We already knew that children raised by a married mother and father have better outcomes in life, but now we know that children raised by homosexual ‘parents’ have worse outcomes in life,” Fitzgerald said. “These two studies show that children raised by their mothers and a lesbian partner measure worse on educational attainment and household income, and are more likely to be depressed, use marijuana, plead guilty to a minor criminal offense, be on public assistance, and report forced sexual encounters. They are less likely to feel close to their biological mother, and they feel less safe and secure in their family of origin.”
The studies also reveal that children raised by a homosexual father and his partner were more likely to have been arrested, to have thought recently about suicide, to feel depressed, to report sexually transmitted diseases and to have experienced forced sex.
“These studies validate North Carolina’s public policy against allowing same-sex couples to adopt, as reflected in our adoption statutes, as being in the best interest of children,” Fitzgerald added.