Currently, as well, cohabiting couples are legally prohibited in Utah from adopting a child, regardless of any other circumstances. I think that the courts should be able to consider those other circumstances. Cohabiting couples, regardless of sexual orientation, are not necessarily unfit to be adoptive parents. Measures are already in place to ensure that any unfit adult will not be considered as fit to adopt a child. For this reason, I also support the improvements to Utah State law that are a part of Utah House Bill 318.
House Bill 89 - ANTIDISCRIMINATION ACT AMENDMENTS
When it comes to discrimination in Utah workplaces and other public places, current law includes the following categories as "protected" against discrimination (HB 89 would substitute the word "covered" for the term "protected"):
(a) race;To this list, HB 89 would add sexual orientation and gender identity. As I try to imagine myself in the shoes of someone whose sexuality is oriented--or whose gender is identified--differently
(e) pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related conditions;
(h) national origin; [or]
They are people, too, who cannot hurt anyone by what they believe or feel.than I think it should be, I can understand why that orientation or identification should be covered against discrimination. Because they are people, too, who cannot hurt anyone by what they believe or feel.
Just because they are covered, though, the law does not give them the right to flaunt their sexuality in public, any more than it gives a heterosexual individual the right to flaunt his or hers. It does not give such persons any preference at all--in fact the law would also be modified by HB 89 to make that very clear. It simply puts them on the same footing as other individuals. I think this is only fair. As the bill says:
556 (d) (i) This chapter may not be interpreted to require...If I disagree with your politics, it shouldn't be a disqualification from me hiring you for employment. Why then should an opinion regarding sexual orientation or gender identity be a disqualification? People can disagree on a whole host of things and still like each other.
575 (e) An employer, employment agency, labor organization, vocational school, joint
576 labor-management committee, or apprenticeship program subject to this chapter [to]:
577 (i) adopt or implement a system under which a specific number or percentage of
578 persons are employed or selected to participate in a program on the basis of sexual orientation
579 or gender identity; or
580 (ii) give a preference to an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or gender
HB 318 - UTAH ADOPTION AMENDMENTS
My reservations about HB 318--or any potential legislation that might be like it--were these.
- The implication that all homosexual adults would by the legislation be considered fit parents.
- That the institution of marriage would be denigrated by this change in the law.
First of all, no attempt is made in the legislation to denigrate marriage between a man and a woman. In fact, existing language in the law is actually strengthened in that regard. Instead of alternate relationships being denigrated, legal marriage is affirmed as generally that "which is in a child's best interest".
100 (3) (a) The Legislature specifically finds that it is [Secondly, several methods are already in place to ensure that the child's best interests continue to be considered during adoption proceedings. All of that verbiage
not] in a child's best interest to be
101 adopted by a person or persons who are [
cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid
and binding marriage under the laws of this state] legally married.
I can think of quite a few situations that would be far more detrimental to the interests of the child.is kept in place (see below), but is modified slightly to include non-traditional families only when such would be in the child's best interest.
70 the division or child-placing agency shall place the child with a man and a woman who areIs it conceivable that a child's best interest would be to continue to live with a cohabiting adult couple? In many situations, no, but in some cases yes. How about if that cohabiting couple is a homosexual couple? Again, in many situations, no, but in some cases yes.
71 married to each other, unless:
72 (a) there are no qualified married couples who:
73 (i) have applied to adopt a child;
74 (ii) are willing to adopt the child; and
75 (iii) are an appropriate placement for the child;
76 (b) the child is placed with a relative of the child;
78 relationship with the child;
79 (d) the child is placed with a person who:
80 (i) is selected by a parent or former parent of the child, if the parent or former parent
81 consented to the adoption of the child; and
82 (ii) the parent or former parent described in Subsection [
83 (A) knew the person with whom the child is placed before the parent consented to the
84 adoption; or
85 (B) became aware of the person with whom the child is placed through a source other
86 than the division or the child-placing agency that assists with the adoption of the child; or
87 (e) it is in the best interests of the child to place the child [
with a single person] in
88 another placement.
I can think of quite a few situations that would be far more detrimental to the interests of the child.
. . .
Some people worry about what might happen after the proverbial camel gets his nose under the tent. In politics and society, we can't worry about that (usually such worries are unfounded anyway). We should, rather, consider what is, in each instance, fair and just. House Bills 89 and 318 help to foster that fairness and justice for all Utahns.