Pending Texas Law Targets Gay Foster Parents, Consensual Sex Acts

January 7, 1999 12:00 am

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ACLU News Wire: 01-07-99 — Pending Texas Law Targets Gay Foster Parents, Consensual Sex Acts

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AUSTIN — Two Texas lawmakers want to ban the placement of foster children in gay and lesbian households, the Associated Press reports.

The bills are being sponsored by Robert Talton, R-Pasadena and State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, who said gay and lesbian homes provide an improper atmosphere for raising children.

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately denounced the proposals.

“People who support proposals like this say they are pro-family,” Matt Coles, Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, told the wire service, “but what more anti-family thing can you do than to say to children in foster care that we are going to deny you the opportunity to be raised by loving parents who could give you a good home and leave you in institutional care instead?”

AP said that the American Psychological Association studies have determined sexual orientation is irrelevant to a parent’s ability to raise a child.

According to the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, the wire service said, 11,000 children are living with some 6,000 licensed foster families during any given month.

“This legislation,” said Stewart Davis, an agency spokesman, “would reduce the potential number of families that could be considered for foster care and adoption.”

The bills were offered in response to a lawsuit filed by a state child welfare worker who was demoted for removing a 3-month-old boy for a lesbian couple’s Dallas home. She said her actions were justifiable because “homosexual conduct is against the law in Texas,” the wire service reported.

Accordingly, the 1999 Texas Legislature is also revisiting the state’s sodomy law.

Rep. Debra Danburg, D-Houston, has filed a bill to repeal a Texas Penal Code clause which makes “sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex” a Class C Misdemeanor, AP said. There is strong support for the Texas sodomy law among legislators, however, and observers said Danburg’s bill is unlikely to pass.

The law is also being challenged in court.

Two Houston men arrested for sodomy when police responded to false report of an intruder are challenging the law based on state on federal constitutional privacy rights, AP said. The case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: The Associated Press, January 2, 1999

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