More good news from the Virginia Senate. The Dynamic Duo of Discrimination, Delegate Robert Marshall and Delegate Dick "Baby Pesticides" Black, have been thwarted by the Senate in their attempt to ban adoptions by responsible gay and lesbian Virginians.
In furthering their opinions that "having no parent is better than having a gay parent", Black and Marshall have shown that they'd prefer to leave hundreds of adoptable Virginia children stuck in the foster care system without permanent homes in order to advance their anti-gay agenda. Thankfully, wiser legislators in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee have prevailed, soundly defeating HB2921 by voice vote yesterday.
The first roadblock that Black and Marshall faced was in the House, where the Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions rejected the original language of their proposed ban, which simply stated, "No person under this statute may adopt if that person is a homosexual."
The committee replaced that language with a substitute that was, presumably, considered to be slightly less hateful. Instead of an outright ban, the committee suggested that the courts investigate "whether the petitioner is known to engage in current voluntary homosexual activity or is unmarried and cohabiting with another adult to whom he is not related by blood or marriage" in addition to the current rigorous investigation into the fitness of prospective adoptive parents.
The revised bill passed the House 71-24. According to the Daily Progress, this House vote was influenced by claims by Delegate Black that "29 percent of the adult children of homosexual parents had been specifically subjected to sexual molestation."
The Daily Press covers yesterday's committee hearing most dramatically, saying senators "verbally eviscerated" Delegate Black's "star witness", the pseudo-sociologist who made the dubious claims of abuse by gay parents that Black cited in his earlier House testimony.
The most hostile attacks during an hourlong hearing were levied at Black's main witness - the author of a highly criticized study that purports to show that gays and lesbians are 34 percent more likely to molest their adopted children than are straight parents.
The author of that study, Paul Cameron, who bills himself as a sociologist, also told the committee that gays and lesbians are more likely to die younger, most around age 50, and that's not good for any children they adopt.
On questioning, Cameron admitted his life-span analysis was based on reading the obituary pages of the Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian newspaper, and that his molestation statistics had been dismissed by some sociologists as scientifically suspect, based on numerous errors.
He also admitted, under harsh questioning by Howell, that he was kicked out of the American Psychological Association on ethics charges in 1983, and that in 1986 the American Sociological Association passed a resolution denying that Cameron was a sociologist and condemning his "consistent misrepresentation of sociological research."
The Roanoke Times also features detailed coverage of the hearing, including the remarkable quote from Delegate Black's star witness claiming that gays and lesbians are similar to drug addicts and prostitutes, "in a sense that they more frequently disrupt society, they less frequently contribute to society and they generally generate excessive costs for society."
Kudos to Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) for her rigorous questioning of Delegate Black's witness, to Equality Virginia for their excellent work in opposition to this bill, and to the ordinary Virginians who stood together to oppose Black and Marshall's bigotry by raising public awareness about this bill. But the greatest thanks goes to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee for welcoming a vigorous debate on the bill and for standing up for Virginia children and families and against bigotry.