Monday, August 21, 2000

Gay Adoption in Indiana

Am grooving in my summer escape from the work routine, moving around among family and friends and reflecting on the joys of connection.

Since I got here to California, I've had a good close look at how my (chosen family) nieces and nephews are growing up. Was reflecting with Luis and with Sandy yesterday at how curious it was in the 60s to find nearly all of my friends came from what they described as dysfunctional families. Now, I'm equally surprised to find everybody around me doing such a good job of raising kids.

It's not all roses in the home of the brave, however. In the Chronicle this morning is this story carried by the Associated Press about a man named Craig Peterson who tried to adopt a little girl and was turned down because he's gay.

Peterson ran into opposition from the girl's foster father, Earl Kimmerling, who objected on the grounds that homosexuality is sinful. Kimmerling was supported by Indiana state and Madison County officials who brought in two psychologists who determined "she would be harmed if forced to live with a gay man."

Peterson went to the Indiana Civil Liberties Union for help. They tried, but found that child welfare officials had followed "appropriate procedures" and could not be faulted.

So Peterson lost the chance to give the girl a home. Instead she was adopted by Kimmerling himself. Look on the bright side. Peterson lost, but at least the system put the child first, right?

Not exactly. It's now two years later. The girl is now 11 and living with Kimmerling's wife. Kimmerling is in jail on a 20-year sentence for molesting her.

Peterson did not get to be her foster father. He is, however, the foster father of her three brothers.

Go figure.

August 21, 2000

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