Texas foster parent proposal criticized

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2003 12:00 AM ET

Calling it cruel and crazy, gay rights advocates and social workers on Tuesday denounced proposed legislation in Texas that would ban the placement of a foster child in a home with someone who is unmarried. There aren't enough foster homes as it is, say opponents, who contend the bill is an attempt to prevent gays and lesbians from providing foster care. "Foster parents should be assessed on their ability to provide love, support, stability, and guidance, not on arbitrary restrictions," said Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas.

Rep. Robert Talton (R-Pasadena), sponsor of the bill, refused to comment to news reporters. He shoved away the hand and microphone of a television journalist in a Texas capitol hallway.

The bill was before the house state affairs committee for a hearing Tuesday.

"I hope that this crazy bill will not go any farther," said Suzanne Bryant, an adoption attorney who said children languish in abusive or neglectful homes because there aren't enough foster families.

With her two adopted sons beside her, Eva Thibaudeau-Graczyk of Houston said that if Talton's bill becomes law, she and her female partner couldn't be foster parents because they can't be legally married. The couple are raising their children, Saleem, 7, and Isaiah, 8, who lived with the women as foster children for five years before being adopted. "We just kept fostering because they didn't have anywhere to go," said Thibaudeau-Graczyk. "Year after year, they kept sticking around, we kept sticking around.... The fact is that I am blessed to have them in my life."