, a bill introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives by Representatives Ron Hood, Tom Brinkman, Linda Reidelbach, Willamowski, Derrick Seaver, Hoops, Dan Bubp, Gilb, Buehrer, Schaffer, would ban the adoption of children by "homosexual, bisexual, or transgendered" people in the state of Ohio. The bill was introduced on the Assembly floor last Thursday, 02/09, and the co-sponsors are currently pushing for a Housewide floor as early as possible. Aside from this legislation being in clear violation of the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution, which nearly all anti-gay legislation is, the extent to which adoption agencies in Ohio would have to go to determine the sexual orientation of those wanting to become adoptive parents is humorous and would be funnier if it was not so scary.
The bill stipulates: "The (A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, the following persons individuals may adopt:
...(B)(2) An unmarried adult;
Now plenty of gay, bisexual, and transgendered Ohioans are 'unmarried adults.' And so starts the sexual witchhunt that would follow if this legislation is enacted. The bill even goes further though, and prevents gay adoption even if the possible parent is a step-parent. What a wonderful way to break families apart. The bill is slim on enforceable measures (likely because it is unenforceable) but one interesting section reads as follows:"(2) When the department of job and family services is satisfied as to the care given such children, and that the requirements of the statutes and rules covering the management of such institutions and associations are being complied with, it shall issue to the institution or association a certificate to that effect. A certificate is valid for two years, unless sooner revoked by the department. When determining whether an institution or association meets a particular requirement for certification, the department may consider the institution or association to have met the requirement if the institution or association shows to the department's satisfaction that it has met a comparable requirement to be accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation organization."
Thus, the bill mandates the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services to somehow formulate protocol that would be in complete compliance with preventing gays from adopting (i.e. an exhaustive investigation into a potential parent(s) and their sexual orientation). I'm not even sure how this is possible. A married man (sadly) can be gay or bi, same with married women. Does an unmarried person immediately become the subject of a sex investigation? Will the adoptive agency worker be forced to solicit the potential parent for sex? How ridiculous. This bill is just another way to hold up gays and others not conforming to 'traditional' standards as deviant and menaces to society. There are actually really issues out there that the Ohio General Assembly could be grappling with other than this bigoted and unenforceable legislation. Issues likes secondary and higher education, the state budget and setting spending limits, political ethics reform, etc., etc.The Cincinnati Enquirer had a nice article on a lesbian couple from Anderson Township who were raising young daughters.
By all accounts, the daughters in question appear to be living happy and normal lives with two loving parents in a stable home, which is what all adopted children ultimately need. The Ohio Supreme Court recognized this fact when in 1990, the Court ruled 6-1 that "nonmarital sexual conduct" including "homosexual activity" must be shown to have a direct adverse impact on the child before it can be the rationale for prohibitng the adoption of a child(ren). HB 515, as written and presented to the General Assembly, simply assumes that homosexuality itself is harmful to a chilren. The question on everyone's mind should be: how?
Fortunately, the infinite ill-effects of this proposed legislation need no longer cause migraines because House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering) has ensured the bill will not get to the floor for a vote. Through his Chief of Staff, Speaker Husted said, "Most reasonable people would have a preference for being in a loving, alternative setting rather than an abusive, heterosexual setting," Scott Borgemenke told the Columbus Dispatch.
"There’s a growing concern within the Republican party of continuing to introduce this divisive legislation."
Speaker Husted said he would like to concentrate the rest of the legislative session on job creation. Jon Husted makes me proud to be a Republican.
A note on Brinkman: State Rep. Tom Brinkman came to my school (Miami Univeristy--Oxford, Ohio) a few weeks ago to address the merits of his lawsuit against Miami Univeristy concerning its domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples. Brinkman did try to answer every question thoughtfully. The basis of his lawsuit is that the current domestic partnership benefits program here at Miami violates the Ohio constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage and defined marraige only between a man and woman. As a matter of strict sta
te law and putting blinders onto implications of the US Consitution, Brinkman may be right. After all, the unversity is extending medical benefits to couples who cannot be legally marriaged in this state but are receiving medical benefits from their relationship, nonetheless.
However, the Constiutional amendment is in clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause and possibly (depending on the circumstances) Art. IV, Sec. I also known as the 'Full Faith and Credit' clause. If a gay married couple from Vermont or Massachusetts moved to Ohio, their marriage has to be recognized on a constitutional basis by Ohio. The Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 does not null and void Art. IV, Sec. I. Congressional statues cannot supercede clear constitutional text. My hope is that Brinkman's unintended consequence of his lawsuit is a court ruling against the ban on gay marriage itself on constitutional grounds and the upholding of Miami's domestic partneship program.
One pehaps irrelevant but troublesome inconsistency with Brinkman was pointed out by a friend of mine. One questioner at the forum a few weeks ago brought up Brinkman's floor vote against a symbolic acceptance of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. (Apparently Ohio has never technically ratified the 14th Amendment because the state legislature had to adjourn but obviously it still has the force of law, having been ratified by the necessary number of states). Brinkman was the only member of the Ohio General Assembly to vote against this symbolic gesture because he felt he wanted to cast a symbolic vote against an amendment that has allowed the legalization of marriage and has been used to broaden federal government power at the expense of the states. I don't mind this point at all, but when Brinkman came out in favor of a Federal Marriage Amendment banning gay marraige, the inconsistency of his ideology (agenda?) became abundantly clear. This was not about constutitonal principle or the rule of law. Brinkman wanted to curb the right of individuals, at the expense of the states. His opinion falls right in lines with the court decisions he considers abominable.