Podcast: Anti-LGBTQ Adoption Discrimination In Kansas & Oklahoma; Adam Rippon Slays On DWTS; 2018 Tony Award Nominations; Pride Nights At Major League Baseball

In this week’s LGBTQ headlines:

• Oklahoma and Kansas state legislatures pass anti-LGBTQ adoption laws

• A new survey of over 40,000 Americans shows acceptance for same-sex marriage has hit 61%

• Ireland moves to ban so-called “conversion therapy”

• The ‘boys of summer’ are back and most Major League Baseball teams have scheduled special LGBT Pride Nights (head over to Outsports.com for a complete list of MLB Pride Nights)

• Drag queen Ada Vox exits American Idol with her head held high

• Tony Kushner’s Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes became the most Tony-nominated play in history as the 2018 Tony Award nominations were announced

• Adam Rippon came to slay on the premiere of the all-athletes season of Dancing with the Stars

All that and more on this episode of The Randy Report

Oklahoma State Senate Approves Bill That Would Allow Adoption Agencies To Discriminate Against Same-Sex Couples

A bill working its way through the Oklahoma legislature would allow religious-based adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, single people and non-Christians.

The Oklahoma state Senate just passed Senate Bill 1140 by a vote of 35-9.

According to the Associated Press, SB1140 would “cover child-placing agencies that block adoptive parents who do not meet the agencies’ religious or moral standards.”

Check that last part – “moral standards.”

The bill now heads to the state House where the Republicans hold a huge majority of 73-28.

Clearly, the effect of the legislation will be to keep children from loving homes.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement which read in part:

“Bills such as SB 1140 are a clear attempt to solve a ‘problem’ that simply doesn’t exist while enshrining anti-LGBTQ discrimination into law,” said Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC. “If lawmakers in Oklahoma truly wanted to help find permanent homes for the children in the child welfare system, they wouldn’t be focusing on narrowing the pool of potential parents, which only hurts those kids. HRC calls on the Oklahoma House to reject this needless, harmful bill.”

Research consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in the foster care system, as many have been rejected by their families of origin because of their LGBTQ status, and are especially vulnerable to discrimination and mistreatment while in foster care. SB 1140 will only exacerbate the challenges faced by LGBTQ young people.

This bill is similar to SB 375, which passed in the Georgia State Senate last month.

Since Donald Trump’s election, several states including Alabama, South Dakota and Texas have passed similar laws.

Georgia State Senate Approves Anti-LGBT Adoption Bill By 35-19 Vote

The Georgia state Senate approved a bill today that would allow adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to adopt based on “deeply held religious beliefs.”

Additionally, the legislation (known as Senate Bill 375) would prohibit the state from taking any adverse action against agencies who discriminated against those same-sex couples.

The legislation was approved by a vote of 35-19 and now moves to the state House.

More from The Georgia Voice:

Senate Bill 375, called the “Keep Faith in Adoption and Foster Care Act,” was introduced earlier this month by state Sen. William Ligon (photo), who added similar language to an adoption overhaul at the end of last year’s legislative session, causing the bill to stall. A Senate Judiciary sub-committee met on Feb. 8 to take up the bill, moving to send it on to the full committee, which passed the bill on Feb. 20.

Senators debated the bill for over an hour, and the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was a hot topic throughout, with several senators who support the bill quoting directly from the ruling. Sen. Ligon and other supporters of the bill continued to try and make the case that passage of the bill would lead to more adoption opportunities in the state and not less.

Equality Federation deputy director Fran Hutchins issued a statement saying, “As someone who was adopted myself I find it deeply insulting that a few politicians are putting LGBTQ youth and families at risk for discrimination. Every child deserves a loving family and place the call home.”

And executive director for Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, called SB 375 “mean spirited” and said, “This legislation goes out of its way to make it harder for loving and committed same-sex couples to start a family—and unfortunately, it’s children in need of permanent homes who will pay the steepest price.”

Georgia Equality has announced a March 1 rally across from the Capitol.

Bigoted Radio Host Booted From Las Vegas Airwaves Over Anti-LGBT Adoption Comments

Over the weekend I posted about a Facebook chat I had with a stranger who said there was no point in calling out haters because “you’ll never run out of work.”

You want to know what happens when people raise their voices and point out hate?

This.

Just a couple of days ago, CBS Radio host Heidi Harris decided she had a problem with a new ad here in Las Vegas for Clark County Family Services. The spot included two gay dads with their son.

Harris took to Facebook to share her ignorant outrage:

“Has anyone seen this ad for Clark County Family Services? Another no-so-subtle attempt to normalize something that is NOT normal. Even if this is normal for YOU, it’s not the best thing for a baby.

“Babies who are eligible for adoption should go to MARRIED people of the opposite sex. That is the IDEAL situation for a baby, and political correctness, changing laws or attitudes cannot alter that REALITY.

“And please don’t comment here about how “some straight people aren’t good parents” or how “you know gay people who are great parents”…blah blah blah… I am fully aware of that. I’m talking about what’s best for the CHILD, and that’s what the County should be promoting.”

You know what “reality” CAN be altered? Ms. Harris’s.

Her comment didn’t go over well in Las Vegas, and just two days later Harris’ show is no longer on the air here in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas LGBTQ activist Kavin Burkhalter just sent me the email below from CBS Radio SVP/market Manager Tony Perlongo:

“Thank you for your email. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us and want to assure you that we take comments about our programming and personalities seriously.

“Please note that, effective immediately, The Heidi Harris Show will no longer air on KXNT.”

Bravo Las Vegas!

#WeCanBuildABeautifulCity

U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Alabama Supreme Court Ruling Against Same-Sex Adoption

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously reversed the Alabama Supreme Court’s refusal to recognize adoption regarding a same-sex couple.

From USA Today:

The justices upheld a challenge brought by an Alabama woman after her state’s highest court refused to recognize the adoption she and her former lesbian partner were granted in Georgia.

The couple never married and have since split up. But the case presented a test of an issue that crops up occasionally in state and federal courts since the Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage: Can gays and lesbians be denied adoption rights?

The case was brought by “V.L.,” as she is identified in court papers, against her former partner “E.L.,” who gave birth to three children between 2002-04 while the couple was together. To win adoption rights for V.L., they established temporary residency in Georgia.

Now that they have split, E.L. agreed with the Alabama Supreme Court, which ruled in September that Georgia mistakenly granted V.L. joint custody. E.L.’s lawyers argued that “the Georgia court had no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which worked on the appeal, issued a statement today which reads in part:

“The Supreme Court’s reversal of Alabama’s unprecedented decision to void an adoption from another state is a victory not only for our client but for thousands of adopted families,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura, who is representing V.L. “No adoptive parent or child should have to face the uncertainty and loss of being separated years after their adoption just because another state’s court disagrees with the law that was applied in their adoption.”

Utah: Judges Takes Foster Child From Married Lesbian Couple Because They Are Gay

April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce of Carbon County, Utah, were stunned when Judge Scott Johansen ordered they surrender the one year old foster child placed in their care.

The judge said he felt the child would be better off with a heterosexual couple based on “research” he had done. When asked for the source of that research, he refused.

Via the Advocate:

The couple, who legally wed in October 2014, have taken care of the one-year-old girl for three months and her birth mother has asked them to adopt the child. The Utah Division of Child and Family Services has been forced to find new housing for the child, but officials say they will appeal the judge’s decision.

“We love her and she loves us, and we haven’t done anything wrong,” Peirce told The Salt Lake Tribune. “And the law, as I understand it, reads that any legally married couple can foster and adopt.”

Attorneys for DCFS are currently reviewing the decision. “If we feel like [Johansen’s] decision is not best for the child,” DCFS director Brent Platt said, “and we have a recourse to appeal or change it, we’re going to do that. For us, it’s what’s best for the child.”

“Any loving couple if they are legally married, and meet the requirements, we want them to be involved,” he said.

The child’s state-appointed attorney supports the couple. The birth mother’s lawyer, who was in court with the couple when the decision was handed down, has said the mother is upset and wants her baby to stay with the couple.

The Human Rights Campaign issued this statement:

“Removing a child from a loving home simply because the parents are LGBT is outrageous, shocking, and unjust. It also flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that children being raised by same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those with different-sex parents. At a time when so many children in foster care need loving homes, it is sickening to think that a child would be taken from caring parents who planned to adopt.”

Democratic White House front-runner tweeted her support for the couple:

Watch the local CBS affiliate’s report below.

Dolce & Gabbana Apologize For Anti-Gay Adoption Comments

Fashion moguls Dolce & Gabbana, who in recent months referred to in vitro fertilization babies “chemical offspring” from a “rented uterus,” have issued an apology for their anti-gay adoption and IVF statements they gave earlier this year.

From Vogue:

“I’ve done some soul-searching. I’ve talked to Stefano a lot about this. I’ve realized that my words were inappropriate, and I apologize. They are just kids. You don’t need labels, baby labels.” And as far as IVF goes, he says he’s changed his tune. “I think everybody chooses for themselves. I don’t know everything about IVF, but I love it when people are happy. It’s like medicine. Science has been put on the table to help people.”

Michigan Governor Signs Discriminatory Anti-Adoption Bill Into Law

Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan signed into law today a bill that allows private adoption agencies with state contracts to decline adoption services to same-sex couples if it goes against “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The press release from Michigan Gov. Snyder’s office spins the law as “ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible” and yet it throws up a road block to doing just that.

Ugh.

From the Governor’s press release:

Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation ensuring Michigan children up for adoption have the greatest opportunity to be placed in loving homes. “The state has made significant progress in finding more forever homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that wouldn’t be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process,” Snyder said. “We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup.”

House Bills 4188, 4189 and 4190, sponsored by lawmakers from both parties — state Reps. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, and Eric Leutheuser, R-Hillsdale, respectively, help continue Michigan’s successful placement of children with loving families by codifying current adoption practices within the state. Under the legislation, faith-based agencies that contract with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can operate in accordance with their beliefs.

The bills also require child placement agencies that decline any services to prospective parents to promptly provide information and a list of alternative adoption agencies willing and able to serve them. They do not change current practices in Michigan, but prevent faith-based agencies from having policies forced on them that violate their religious beliefs, which have resulted in agencies closing in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Washington, D.C.

The Detroit Free-Press: “Critics of the bills have derided the legislation as state-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex and unmarried couples — especially because many of the faith-based agencies receive public funding from the state.”

“Governor Rick Snyder has proven today that he has utter disdain for the welfare of children in Michigan and that he cares only about empowering backwards discrimination,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This legislation keeps children in need out of the loving homes they deserve, and it sets this great state back decades.”

News Round-up: June 10, 2015

Laverne Cox

Some stories you may have missed:

• Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black) will be the first transgender person to be immortalized at the famous Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum

• A straight couple in Australia plan to divorce if same-sex marriage is legalized in his country.
That’ll learn ’em.

• It seems McKinney resident Sean Toon, who stood up for the police officer who handcuffed a 14 year old girl over pool party chaos, might have had more to do with the incident that he has previously let on.

• There are 3,000 kids in Michigan waiting to be adopted and the state Senate just made that much more difficult.

• The new Netflix series Sense8 is pretty fab. And so is the handsome latin star Miguel Ángel Silvestrewho, who plays one of the show’s gay characters. Check out his teaser video below.

Sen. Marco Rubio On Gay Adoption

As House Majority Leader in Florida in 2006, Marco Rubio had this to say about gay couples adopting children (via Tallahassee.com):

“Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state,” said House Majority Leader Marco Rubio of West Miami.

“They shouldn’t be forced to be part of a social experiment.”

Interesting fact since today the Florida legislature voted to officially repeal the state’s ban on gay adoption.

Rubio’s office hasn’t responded to requests to see if his position has changed.