Mississippians to 'Phone Home for Families,' Encouraging Legislature to Kill Bill that Would Hurt Children

Affiliate: ACLU of Mississippi
March 9, 2000 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Mississippi
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JACKSON, MS–Taking a stand for children throughout Mississippi, a coalition of fair-minded groups today launched a “Phone Home for Families” campaign to defeat a proposed statewide bill that would ban lesbians and gay men from adopting and prevent such adoptions in other states from being recognized in Mississippi.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people — as well as heterosexual people — who have moved away from Mississippi will “phone home” this weekend, calling Mississippi State House members who represent their former districts. Current residents will also call their representatives this weekend, telling them that a vote for the anti-adoption bill is a vote against children.

“Hundreds of children in foster homes throughout this state are waiting for permanent adoptive homes that can provide them with the support, guidance and love they desperately want and need,” said David Ingebretsen, Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “This bill is unconstitutional and, even if it is passed, it will be struck down in court. But it shouldn’t get that far. Our children deserve better.”

Earlier this week, the Mississippi House Judiciary Committee passed the bill. It now moves to the full House for consideration. In addition to calling individual House members this weekend, current and former state residents are calling House Speaker Tim Ford to encourage him to prevent the bill from coming before the full House for a vote.

The “Phone Home for Families” campaign will stress the need for more people in Mississippi to adopt children, and the need for the State Legislature to address pressing issues facing families and children statewide.

Mississippi ranks last or near last in the nation in the number of children living in poverty, the percentage of pregnant women without prenatal care and the number of children lacking health insurance.

“Our representatives need to be lifting families and children up — not debating divisive, discriminatory, unconstitutional legislation,” Ingebretsen said. “Throughout the weekend, we will be calling House members at home, asking them to act in the best interests of children, sharing our concerns with them and explaining the devastating impact this legislation will have on children.”

The ACLU, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and other groups, along with lesbian and gay community centers and other local organizations nationwide, are participating in the “Phone Home for Families” campaign.

Calls and e-mails to lawmakers should come only from people who live in the state, used to live there or have friends or family there, the ACLU said. Contact information for Mississippi legislators is online at http://www.clarionledger.com/news/miss/legislature/housedir.html.

Additional information, including statements on lesbian and gay adoption from the Child Welfare League of America, the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the American Psychological Association, are available on the Lesbian and Gays Rights section of the ACLU’s web site, at http://archive.aclu.org/issues/gay/hmgl.html.

A March 7, 2000 ACLU release on the Mississippi adoption ban is online at http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/n030700b.html.

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