Last Sunday, presidential candidate John McCain told the New York Times, “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption” (which, like “gay marriage,” is a misleading term implying there is something so fundamentally different about the act when it is done by gay people that it requires the extra modifier). Presumably he’s not too fond of adoption by single parents, either, although as Raw Story points out, his phrasing also seems to imply that two gay parents only constitute a single parent. (Hmm. . . . Two becoming one. Isn’t that how some people describe marriage?)
Mr. Straight Talk yesterday reversed his position, however, presumably after campaign advisors pointed out that as an adoptive parent himself, it looked bad to be denying loving homes to children in need. His campaign issued a statement saying that while the candidate’s personal preference was for children to be raised by a mother and a father, “He recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. John McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative.” There’s a complement to win people over.
The campaign also clarified that McCain believes adoption is a state issue, as is marriage.
The problem, of course, is that states must recognize adoptions by other states (although Oklahoma tried for a time to invalidate adoptions by same-sex couples from other states). The federal Defense of Marriage Act, however, says they do not have to recognize marriages from other states. This means—and here’s the fun fact for the week—even if a same-sex couple marries in California or Massachusetts, has a child, and gets both parents’ names on the birth certificate in accordance with state law, the non-biological parent must still do a second-parent adoption in order to be recognized as a legal parent when traveling to most other states and countries or dealing with the federal government. (The non-biological parent can go on the birth certificate because the legal relationship of the adults is recognized. In jurisdictions where it is not, the birth certificate means diddly-squat for a non-biological parent’s rights.)
Yep, that’s right. After you pay for the wedding reception, you have to shell out another $2,500 or so to gain a right that comes standard for opposite-sex couples. This makes you both legal parents to your child, but still legal strangers to each other in most states.
Wait a minute. Maybe there is something different enough about the marriage of a same-sex couple that we should use the term “gay marriage” after all.
Confused by all the “straight talk” yet?