April 21, 2005
Foster care madness

Like so many of my blogging colleagues, I'm disgusted by the action taken by State Rep. Robert Talton (R, Pasadena) to bar gays from being foster parents. I'm at a loss to understand the public policy rationale for this, since there's no evidence at all that children of gay or bisexual foster parents suffer in comparison to children of straight foster parents. Do we have such a surplus of foster parent wannabees that we needed to shrink the overall pool? Who will be bump out next because we don't approve of their lifestyle? The childless? The non-churchgoers?

Another point to consider:

Talton's amendment would require the Department of Family and Protective Services to ask potential foster parents if they are homosexual or bisexual and to refrain from placing children with those parents. Currently, the agency does not ask that question.

The department also would be required to remove a child from a foster home if it determines that the parents are homosexual or bisexual.

Did Talton provide any extra funding to cover these extra efforts? I daresay the answer is No, meaning that the small amount Family and Protective Services already gets will need to be stretched to include being the Gay Police. Thanks for the unfunded mandate, Bob.

Finally, Byron notes the Democrats who voted for this expression of homophobia (do I really have to tell you that Al Edwards was one of them? And Sylvester Turner, who keeps making it hard for me to defend him. And Richard Raymond and Patrick Rose - shame, shame, shame.) and the Republicans who voted against it. Note the comments made by State Rep. Carter Casteel (R, New Braunfels) in voting against the measure:

It was clear from the debate that the cost was astronomical and that the agency would have to consider becoming an investigatory agency into the sexual preference of foster parents.

It was also clear that women who roomed together in college or men also would be suspect. It was clear that single men or women would be suspect.

Indeed. This isn't rocket science. It's common sense, which once again demonstrates that it's not so common any more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 21, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack


As I mentioned in the comments of The Burnt Orange Report, Richard Raymond's vote in favor of the witch hunt suggests that he might be running for CD-23. The progressives in Webb, which would have been his base in the CD-28 primary, are now more likely go for Ciro. That is unless he is really running in CD-23. If CD-23 is open, I think he has shot, and I would really rather him run in it over CD-28. So, despite Richard's vote in favor of the witch hunt, which for the record I strongly oppose for multiple reasons, his vote might hint at some good news to come.

Your thoughts?

Posted by: blank on April 21, 2005 8:49 AM

As much as I wish I could claim that Casteel was from my hometown of Fredericksburg, nay, she is from New Braunfels. Comal County has half the population of the total distributed across the 4 counties of her district. It's unlikly that someone from another part of the district would win, so long as there is a candidate from Comal in the race, as each of the other 3 counties are each 1/6 of the total population.

Posted by: Karl-Thomas on April 21, 2005 8:50 AM

Nicole and I were talking about this last night. She was irate. I am too. Apart from the unfunded mandate and the homophobia, the level of nosey-parker-ness that this rule requires to implement is un-Texan.

Posted by: Ginger Stampley on April 21, 2005 9:17 AM

I'm at a loss to understand the public policy rationale for this,

That's because there's no public policy rationale to it, Kuff. There is a fundamentalist theocratic rationale, but there is no public policy rationale.

...since there's no evidence at all that children of gay or bisexual foster parents suffer in comparison to children of straight foster parents.

Evidence? We don't need no stinking evidence!
For those people, evidence is something that pointy-heads act on, not something that encumbers their ignorance.

I say "those people" on purpose because jackasses like Representative Talton are not Americans. They are somewhere between Americans and Iranians, theocrats who don't quite understand what ramifications their theocratic beliefs will have on their other freedoms and who don't care about anyone else's freedoms.

Posted by: Patrick on April 21, 2005 12:03 PM

Al Edwards is my rep and I am getting a bit tired of reading about his votes this session. Until recently he was flying pretty much below my radar since he basically ran unopposed and was a democrat. Chuck, have you a heard of any move to challenge him in a primary?

Posted by: Kyle on April 21, 2005 1:24 PM

I have lived in Texas since 1978 and in all that time I have never, ever heard of an abusive situation in a foster home headed by a homosexual.

On the other hand, there have been many documented incidents of abuse by hetero couples who foster or who are 'biological parents'--and many that involve boyfriends abusing or killing their girlfriends' children.

It seems that being a fundamentalist Christian does not exclude you from committing a heinous crime against your children, either. Anyone hear of Andrea Yates--married, Christian, hetero? How about that mom in the Dallas area who cut off her baby girl's arms? Same personal data as Andrea Yates. Now, that takes us to another level of incompetence in Texas: the failure of the mental health care system.

If anyone comes across a case in Texas involving abuse by a homosexual foster parent, post it! I won't hold my breath waiting, though.

Posted by: liz in houston on April 21, 2005 3:37 PM

Without breaking the vow of secrecy I made as a TX grand juror last year, I'll just say that my admittedly-anecdotal experience hearing way too many cases about child sexual abuse only underscores my belief that this is an incredibly dumb law, unsupported by facts or reason.

Posted by: Ellen on April 21, 2005 5:25 PM

I called Sylvester Turners office. I was told he "stepped off the floor during the vote and someone flipped his switch to incate a yes vote in his absence".
This whole thing is disgusting on so many levels, I am not sure where to begin. So I sit and stew in my disgust at the backward nature of so many in this state, sadly many Democrats as well.

Posted by: Ted on April 21, 2005 7:54 PM

Every person who voted for this discriminitory and devestating amendment should be asked by constituents to open their homes and commit their time to the foster children of Texas. I'll start.

Posted by: Margie on April 21, 2005 8:48 PM

It's a sad day when we have to rely on David Dewhurst and the Texas Senate to restore sanity-- thankfully, Jane Nelson (who will be chairing the Senate conferees) already put up a red flag on it.

Posted by: norbizness on April 21, 2005 9:45 PM

Here in Indiana, a few years ago, we had Rep.Woody Burton prevent a gay male couple from adopting the sister of two boys they already were raising. He went through all the traditional sputtering and frothing and ended up placing her in a "good Christian foster home" where the father sexually abused her for years before it was discovered. Great, huh? Watching "Wouldhe Burn'em" gyrate between outrage and disgust suddenly made me realize something. It became obvious as he was railing on that his disgust resulted from his own fantasizing about homosexual sex acts as he was talking. When I'm introduced to a heterosexual couple I've never found myself imagining what they might be doing behind their bedroom door and the same holds true about homosexual couples I've met and known. Instead of accepting that he had this fantasy problem he had to attack the perceived source of his conflict in order to reaffirm his own feelings of sexual security.

Posted by: JKevin on April 22, 2005 8:31 AM

Blank - You may be right, but that feels like an awfully deep game to be playing to me. I think this was just a regrettable choice by Raymond, one for which he needs to get some feedback.

Kyle - Yes, there's talk of a primary challenge to Edwards. He may wind up being the Ron Wilson of 2006.

Karl-T - I'll correct the oversight. Thanks!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 22, 2005 9:08 AM