Rosie’s crusade; could the “queen of nice” turn the tide for gay adoption rights? – Adoption – Rosie O’Donnell – Brief Article – Column
Mainstream America finally got a good look at a gay parent March 14 when Rosie O’Donnell came out as a lesbian on ABC’s Primetime Thursday. O’Donnell told Diane Sawyer that she was making the public disclosure in order to draw attention to Florida’s ban adoptions by gay men and lesbians.
There couldn’t be a better spokesperson for gay adoption than O’Donnell, activists say; beloved by millions of daytime TV viewers and crowned the “queen of nice” she is a perfect example of how gay people can be great parents “Rosie embodies everything we’ve been trying to say in our arguments for adoption rights,” said Patricia Logue of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund “That is, gay parents are nothing to be afraid of.” As O’Donnell told Sawyer, “America has watched me parent my children on TV for six years. They know what kind of parent I am.”
O’Donnell’s announcement comes just as the debate over adoption rights is peaking. In addition to the case of Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau, the couple whose fight with the state of Florida to adopt one of their five foster children was the catalyst for O’Donnell’s public coming-out, an increasing number of cases have been making their way into national headlines. On March 8, for example, the Nebraska supreme court blocked a lesbian’s attempt to adopt her partner’s 3-year-old son.
And O’Donnell is hardly alone in her support of gay parenting. The Child Welfare League, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association have all recently issued statements in favor of gay adoption rights. Meanwhile, nine of the former legislators who helped pass Florida’s adoption ban in 1977 said on March 8 that they were wrong to do so.
Still, it’s the human touch from someone like O’Donnell that could make all the difference, said American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Eric Ferrero. “What moves people and what changes attitudes,” he said, “is getting to meet and getting to know their families.”
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