On Same-Sex Parenting, Roy Moore ‘Relic’ of Not-So-Distant Past

As reporters and columnists for CNN and Slate have mentioned, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) actively curtailed the parental rights of the LGBT community during his career as a judge.

In 1996, Moore prohibited a lesbian woman from custody and unsupervised visits with her children. He was removed from the case the next year by the Alabama Supreme Court.

In 2011, at a speech in Iowa, Moore delivered the following apocalyptic prediction of an America where LGBT people could marry:

No society is prepared to deal with the problems arising out of same-sex marriages; child abuse, adoption, divorce, foster care, alimony and the list goes on and on.

There is of course zero evidence that these problems, all of which have existed in society for centuries, have been exacerbated in any way by same-sex marriage. Also, Youth Services Insider would imagine there are a couple million adoptive parents who might take issue with adoption being considered a social “problem.”

It wasn’t that long ago that Moore’s dim view of the parental abilities of LGBT people were in line with the American public. In 1994, not long before Moore barred a lesbian mom from seeing her kids without supervision, about a quarter of Americans said they believed same-sex couples should have the right to adopt children, according to “America’s Progress in Achieving the Legalization of Same-Gender Adoption: Analysis of Public Opinion, 1994 to 2012,” a 2014 paper that appeared in the journal Social Work.

Five years later, about a third of Americans supported LGBT adoption. Mainstream Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, were openly opposed to it.

By 2012, 61 percent of Americans supported the adoption rights of the LGBT community.

With significant help from the U.S. Supreme Court, both federal and state law have moved past the backwards notions held by the Moores of the world. Gay couples can be married in any state; this was established in 2015. Gay couples can adopt in any state; this was established in 2016, when the high court struck down Mississippi’s ban on gay adoption.

The intersection of LGBT rights and child welfare is still a political issue, as evidenced by the recent federal and state action on the right of faith-based contractors to discriminate in which parents they recruit and train. But the actual right of an LGBT person to marry, and to parent, are no longer subject to the whims of ideology.

That a man of Moore’s mindset could soon be in the U.S. Senate is a sharp reminder that many Americans, perhaps four of every ten, do not recognize the basic right of gay couples to parent. On a positive note, it is worth reflecting on the fact that in the past decade, the Supreme Court has vastly curtailed the ability of bigots like Moore to turn their views into legislative consequences for the public.

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