Proposed Antigay Texas Law is Unconstitutional and Harmful to Children in Foster Care, Lambda Legal Says
(Austin, Texas, April 28, 2005) — In a letter sent to a legislative conference committee today, Lambda Legal says it opposes a proposed amendment to a foster care bill that would categorically ban gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from being foster parents in Texas.
“Courts have already said that this kind of law is discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. This proposed amendment is twice as harmful because it also jeopardizes foster children currently living in loving and stable homes,” said Rudy Estrada, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Foster Care Project. “Passage of this amendment would make Texas the only state in the union with a legislative ban on foster parenting by gay, lesbian and bisexual adults.”
In addition to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws that were designed out of hostility toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, the letter cites a case in Arkansas where a court struck down a similar regulation of the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board. The court found in that case that “the evidence overwhelmingly showed that there was no rational relationship between [the blanket exclusion of gay and lesbian foster parents] and the health, safety, and welfare of foster children.”
The Texas amendment, authored by Rep. Robert Talton, states in part that the Department of Family and Protective Services shall not place or “allow a child to remain in foster care” with a foster parent who is “homosexual or bisexual.”
On April 20, News 8 Austin quoted Talton saying, "We do not believe that homosexuals or bisexuals should be raising our children. Some of us believe they would be better off in orphanages than in a homosexual or bisexual households because that's a learned behavior," Talton said.
The Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization in the country, has also sent a letter to the members of the committee opposing the amendment.
Lisa Hardaway 212-809-8585 x266
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.