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Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Texas Anti-Gay Adoption Bill Closer To Vote

[AUSTIN, TX] - The author of legislation that would ban gays and lesbians from serving as foster parents in Texas is refusing to meet with LGBT community leaders.

"He's made it very clear that we're not welcome there and that he regards us as second class citizens," said Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. "He may have been elected by the city of Pasadena, but he has a responsibility to the whole state."

Rep. Robert Talton has two bills making their way through the Texas House. One would keep gays or bisexuals from serving as foster parents in the state while the other would keep unmarried adults from becoming foster parents.

While the first directly targets gays and lesbians, Talton said that the second accomplishes the same thing since same-sex marriages are not recognized in Texas.

The legislation would require the Texas Department of Protection and Regulatory Services to ask about each applicant's sexual orientation and would allow the department to conduct a "reasonable investigation" if it is suspicious of a reply.

Ellis said he and others have tried to approach Talton about the bills, but they have been asked to leave his office in the Capitol countless times. The Republican legislator says he has no interest in meeting with "those kind of people."

"It's improper conduct, and it's the wrong type of conduct to be teaching kid s," Talton said. "I don't think it's right to teach a gay and lesbian lifestyle to a young child before the age of accountability."

When children turn 18, they can decide for themselves, he added, but they should not be placed in homosexual homes before they are old enough to make that choice." "It's a learned behavior - you aren't born with it. When you logically think about it, it's the only way that makes sense," he said.

The Texas Department of Child Protective Services says that if Talton's bills become law it will be hard to place many of the children in its care.

Geoff Wool, TDPRS spokesperson, said studies and experience dictate that moving children from a stable placement has a direct impact on their well-being.

Last month hundreds of protestors from across the state demonstrated against the legislation in front of the Capitol.

Ellis said Talton has no empirical evidence to support his legislation.

"There are pages and pages of academic and professional organizations that have come out with policy statements," Ellis said.

"There is not one credible study that says gays and lesbians influence the children they are raising or are harmful to children."

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