Bill Would Ban Gay Texans From Adopting Children
Houston Chronicle, December 10, 1998
By Polly Ross Hughes
AUSTIN -- A West Texas legislator is sponsoring a bill that would ban
gays and lesbians from becoming foster parents or adopting children in state custody,
prompting a sharp attack from a vocal gay Republican group.
"This bill is offensive, and I think any fair-minded individual will find this
bill to be offensive," said Steve Labinski, president of Log Cabin Republicans of
Texas, which advocates equal treatment of homosexuals in the GOP.
The proposal, filed this week by state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, would direct Child
Protective Services not to place children in homes with homosexual parents, and defines
their sexual practices as "deviate."
Private adoptions would not be affected, but thousands of children at risk could be.
Currently the state oversees 17,578 foster children and last year approved 1,548
Labinski called Chisums proposal "un-Republican" and said it hardly
echoes the concept of "compassionate conservatism" championed by Gov. George W.
Chisum, however, maintains that his research shows homosexual parents place children at
risk of an unhealthy lifestyle, illegal activity or an unstable home life. Chisum
considers homosexual acts illegal under the states sodomy law.
"This bill is not about any rights of gays and lesbians to be parents," said
Chisum, who sponsored an unsuccessful bill in the 1997 legislative session that said Texas
would not recognize gay marriages.
"This bill ensures that the state will provide the best possible homes for
children who have already been abused and neglected," Chisum said.
The issue could erupt into a divisive debate should it hit the floor of the Texas House
when the Legislature meets next year. State Rep. Glen Maxey, an Austin Democrat and the
only openly gay legislator, has said any law or policy that authorized such a "witch
hunt" would "create a world of hurt."
The bill responds to a dispute last year when Dallas CPS caseworker Rebecca Bledsoe was
disciplined after abruptly removing an infant from the home of a lesbian foster parent.
Bledsoe said she was told she had failed to show respect for the foster mother. She filed
a lawsuit against the state in September, and the American Civil Liberties Union
intervened the following month to argue against Bledsoe.
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