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Old 03-03-2011, 02:24 AM   #16
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Text of the ruling for you lawyer nerds and select quotes:

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In our initial discussion on this issue, when asked if, given their views, they would be able to support a young person who, for example was confused about their sexuality, the answer was in the negative.
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"In relation to their expressed views on same sex relationships, Sally stressed that these views did not equate with the Fostering Standards which require carers to value individuals equally and to promote diversity. Eunice and Owen were not able to acknowledge that their very strong beliefs in this area would be likely to impact on their ability to support and reassure a young person who may be confused re their sexual identity. Having read the report, Eunice disputed that she had said that she could not support anyone who was having such difficulties. She felt that her beliefs would not affect how she was able to care for a young person, and stated that we were really saying that they could not be foster-carers because they are Christians."
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The materials relied on by Mr Weston, including in particular the various policies set out in the National Minimum Standards for Fostering, the Statutory Guidance and the defendant's own documents, all go to emphasise the need to value diversity and promote equality and to value, encourage and support children in a non-judgemental way, regardless of their sexual orientation or preference. That duty does not apply only to the child and the individual placement, but to the wider context, including the main foster carer, a child's parents and the wider family, any of whom may be homosexual. In these circumstances it is quite impossible to maintain that a local authority is not entitled to consider a prospective foster carer's views on sexuality, least of all when, as here, it is apparent that the views held, and expressed, by the claimants might well affect their behaviour as foster carers. This is not a prying intervention into mere belief. Neither the local authority nor the court is seeking to open windows into people's souls. The local authority is entitled to explore the extent to which prospective foster carers' beliefs may affect their behaviour, their treatment of a child being fostered by them. In our judgment the local authority was entitled to have regard to these matters; indeed, if the local authority had failed to explore these matters it might very well have found itself in breach of its own guidance and of the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and the Statutory Guidance to look no further.
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Second, as the literature submitted with the Commission's case and the material referred to by Mr Diamond in riposte shows, there is no consistent opinion as the desirability or benefit of same-sex couples fostering children. The material submitted by the Commission is not strictly evidence. But it does show a body of opinion which considers that a child or young person who is homosexual or is doubtful about his or her sexual orientation may experience isolation and fear of discovery if their carer is antipathetic to or disapproves of homosexuality or same-sex relationships. The material also indicates that there is support in the literature for the view that those who hide their sexual orientation or find it difficult to "come out" may have more health problems and in particular mental health problems. Whether those views are 'right' or 'wrong', whether the claimants or the Commission have the preponderance of expert opinion on their side, is not the point – and it is not a matter on which we express any views. But in the light of such literature, together with the steer given by the National Minimum Standards, it cannot be said that an examination of the attitudes to homosexuality and same-sex relationships of a person who has applied to be a foster carer is Wednesbury unreasonable.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by mobvok View Post
B) the "coping mechanisms" fundamentalist Christians like this couple likely would embrace for homosexuality are abysmal failures. They don't work. The best case scenario likely involves the gay kids rejecting the negative influence of their parents and finding a support structure outside their parents that actually accepts and sustains them. Which means the foster agency pretty much failed at their task of finding a good home. At medium, the kid survives but abused/hurt to some degree by a forced attempt to psychologically repress his nature. At worst, the kid commits suicide.

An overweight couple can, through diligence and hard work, inculcate nutritional discipline in their foster children. The odds that a couple who hates homosexual activity would non-abusively steer a gay child through puberty I find to be vanishingly thin, and so I find the prospect as likely as a Christian camp "curing" wayward gays.
Great post in general, but these arguments in particular were excellent .

I think it's just insane we still have to have this discussion at all, really. The anti-gay crowd needs to grow up and get over this stuff.

Angela
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:42 AM   #18
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Is there a child-welfare argument against them (as opposed to the use-of-public-funds argument)?

would we let white supremacists be foster parents?
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:00 PM   #19
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would we let white supremacists be foster parents?
In my state, and so far as I know in most states, prospective foster parents are allowed to express racial and ethnic preferences concerning the children they might foster. If they wish to foster white children children only (as a white supremacist, for one, would), that does not disqualify them; on the contrary, it's when they express specific interest in fostering children across racial or ethnic lines that closer questioning about their knowledge, attitudes and social experiences kicks in. Also, foster system workers are supposed to take older foster children's own possible preferences in foster parents into account. I don't think there is some general screening for white supremacist views which all prospective foster parents must pass. And they certainly don't grill overweight prospective parents about their nutritional goals.

I'm only going on what friends of ours who foster children have said about the process, so I can't swear to the above. But it doesn't really seem to me like quite the right analogy, because homophobic foster parents by contrast would be coming from the standpoint that homosexuality is "just" a sinful or unhealthy behavior which can be "corrected" if it appears. Which I suppose in a way makes them more dangerous. Obviously, I'd rather neither white supremacists nor homophobes existed let alone become parents, but that's beside the point.
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These two quotes drove me fucking batty for hours because I initially read it very callously:

Ok, so you're talking prospectively? Like, "as far as we know you haven't caused any current harm to the child, but this quality (hate homos!) indicates you probably would psychologically ravage the little critter. Denied!"

Total Minority Report situation, yeah?

Well, I'd say two things:
A) parents rejecting homosexuality DOES tend to harm gay kids (to a specific extent yet undetermined in this thread)
B) the "coping mechanisms" fundamentalist Christians like this couple likely would embrace for homosexuality are abysmal failures. They don't work. The best case scenario likely involves the gay kids rejecting the negative influence of their parents and finding a support structure outside their parents that actually accepts and sustains them. Which means the foster agency pretty much failed at their task of finding a good home. At medium, the kid survives but abused/hurt to some degree by a forced attempt to psychologically repress his nature. At worst, the kid commits suicide.

This is, of course, a somewhat different issue than the specific ruling that prompted this thread. I will add a link to it and quotes in my next post.
Thank you for posting the link to the ruling.

I can see where what I was saying would sound callous, because I was focusing more on the implications for biological families rather than on whether parents--foster, biological or adoptive--who believe homosexuality is "sinful" could fully support a hypothetical gay child's maturation into adulthood: that's a no-brainer; they couldn't, ever. I'm not familiar with Minority Report, so I'm afraid your sarcasm there was lost on me. I don't feel qualified to say how parents of 5-10 year olds who think being gay is a "practice" compares to other common parental shortcomings for potential emotional scarring, and I indicated that from the beginning. I also acknowledged repeatedly that foster children are probably a special case, since they've already been through the trauma of abuse/neglect followed by separation from their birth families, and foster parenting as service to them is more about supporting a timebound transition than providing a permanent "new family," though the latter sometimes happens. So maybe this is a question of holding foster parents to a higher standard because the structural justification to do so is there. But biological parents' rights are hardly absolute, so I don't see why it's unreasonable to examine a standard applied to foster parents' fitness in terms of what it might imply about biological parents. Abuse is abuse no matter what the specifics of the relationship between parent and child. If this couple's views constitutes "tortur[ing] foster kids to death" (per Savage), then that doesn't sound like something biological or adoptive parents should be allowed to do either.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:38 PM   #20
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Abuse is abuse no matter what the specifics of the relationship between parent and child. If this couple's views constitutes "tortur[ing] foster kids to death" (per Savage), then that doesn't sound like something biological or adoptive parents should be allowed to do either.


a quick Google search pulled up these stats from PFLAG Phoenix:


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SUICIDE & DEPRESSION

* Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth. (1)
* Gay and lesbian youth are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. (1)
* Over 30% of all reported teen suicides each year are committed by gay and lesbian youth.

REJECTION

* 50% of all gay and lesbian youth report that their parents reject them due to their sexual orientation. (2)
* 26% of gay and lesbian youth are forced to leave home because of conflicts over their sexual orientation. (1)
* In a study of 194 gay and lesbian youth, 25% were verbally abused by parents, and nearly 10% dealt with threatened or actual violence. (12)

HOMELESSNESS

* Approximately 40% of homeless youth are identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. (3)
* Service providers estimate that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth make up 20-40% of homeless youth in urban areas. (18)
* In a study of male teenagers self-described as gay or bisexual, 27% moved away from home because of conflict with family members over sexual orientation. Almost half had run away from home at least once. (2)

PFLAG Phoenix:� Today's Gay Youth:� The Ugly, Frightening Statistics


parental homophobia is abuse. people who kick their kids out of the house should be brought up on abuse charges.

while i admired aspects of the "it gets better" project, it appeared to focus only on bullying in schools sidestepping the fact that the worst bullies, those capable of inflicting not just psychological damage but financial and physical damage as well, are parents.

i think a clear, verbalized opposition to sexual orientation that's rooted not in unfamiliarity but in fully aware religious opposition absolutely has the potential for abuse.

i think potential adoptive or foster parents should be asked about how they would handle it if a child came out.
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Old 03-03-2011, 04:54 PM   #21
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Yes, I certainly agree parents who kick minors out should be brought up on abuse charges. But it's more that 50% 'rejection' statistic that catches my eye. I'm assuming those parents fall into the "clear, verbalized opposition" category, even though the majority of them continue to provide for the child's basic needs, aren't sending them off to 'conversion therapy' camp, and aren't consciously seeking to harm them. What about those parents? What response to them would be best for the child? I'm asking seriously, not rhetorically.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:34 PM   #22
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The Minority Report quip wasn't sarcastic. One basic question of that movie was whether it was fair to arrest people based on psychic predictions of things that hadn't happened yet, which seemed relevant to this issue. More of an apropos pop culture reference.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:01 PM   #23
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Yes, I certainly agree parents who kick minors out should be brought up on abuse charges. But it's more that 50% 'rejection' statistic that catches my eye. I'm assuming those parents fall into the "clear, verbalized opposition" category, even though the majority of them continue to provide for the child's basic needs, aren't sending them off to 'conversion therapy' camp, and aren't consciously seeking to harm them. What about those parents? What response to them would be best for the child? I'm asking seriously, not rhetorically.

i honestly think that would be up to the child. if there isn't quantifiable physical abuse -- i.e., getting kicked out of the house, beatings -- then getting help in such a situation appears to fall on the shoulders of the child who really can't do much to get rid of his biological parents nor does the state have much power to intervene. i'd imagine that many of the practices described by our Tiger Mom from a few weeks back might inculcate the same feelings of worthlessness and rejection that a gay child might feel from a parent, but we're not taking Amy Chua's kids away from them. the same would probably apply here. we may not like it, but a "response" would be worse. and this is usually why kids wait until the are in college or out of the house to come out. those that come out early usually have supportive parents and are confident themselves (or are so "obvious" they don't even bother trying to pass). the issues usually arise when kids are "discovered" by parents our outed by friends and relatives.

i suppose the next question would be whether or not the UK couple in the article might be the same -- they'd disapprove of such a "sinful" "practice" but continue to feed and clothe a gay teenager. and that might be true. but since -- as has been pointed out in gay adoption threads -- adoption seeks to put a child in the "best possible" environment, it still seems to me that such a negative situation could be prevented by the screening process.
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