Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Undermining Same Sex Marriage Harms Children

One thing that has been on open display is the fact that harming children is perfectly fine with the Trump/Pence regime and its white evangelical Christian supporters - at least so long as the children impacted are non-white or live in same-sex couples headed house.  The border separation of children from the parents is sadly reminiscent of the slave traders and auctioneers who thought nothing of tearing apart African families forceably captured and transported to America.  It is all part and parcel of the dehumanization of those who are labeled as "other" due to skin color, religious belief, and/or sexual orientation - the true original sin of those who claim to honor the Gospel, yet forget its dictates the moment they walk out the church door.   Yesterday's Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling will only serve to accelerate attacks on same sex couples and their families by the "godly folk,"   In the context of the Christofascist efforts to undermine same sex marriage, a piece in USA Today looks at the harm this is doing to children - not that the Christofascists seem to care.  Here are article highlights: 
A Supreme Court ruling sanctioning same-sex marriage in 2015 was hailed as a milestone moment that would see discrimination crumble and equality triumph for LGBT couples — and for their children.
But in the past three years, those parents and kids have faced a brewing backlash that threatens everything from health benefits to a couple’s ability to adopt.
Two states — Kansas and Oklahoma — passed legislation in recent weeks that allows state-licensed child welfare agencies to cite religious beliefs for not placing children in LGBT homes, a troubling trend for LGBT advocates.
“We have to acknowledge that marriage equality was a huge victory for security and stability” for LGBT families, said Naomi Goldberg, policy director for the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), which released a report Monday documenting ways the 2015 ruling is being undercut and the consequences for kids. “But the landscape remains uncertain. Families have to think about ways they may or may not be recognized: when they travel, go to the doctor, go to a restaurant.”
[M]ore than two-thirds of Americans now back same-sex marriage — the highest level Gallup has recorded in the more than 20 years it has been surveying Americans on the issue.
In many families and communities, support for LGBT families flourishes, but “the gap is with legislators,” she said.
The report by MAP, a think tank that researches and analyzes laws with LGBT implications, and co-authored by the Family Equality Council, which has been working with LGBT-headed families for nearly 40 years, cites a refusal to recognize LGBT families by some government officials, state legislators and even courts.
The result puts children in peril on many levels, the report says: If a parent-child relationship is not legally cemented, children could be denied health insurance or a parent may not be able to make medical decisions.
Birth certificates to divorcesEfforts to undermine the 2015 ruling have played out across the nation in the past three years.• Arkansas was among several states that initially refused to place two married same-sex parents on a birth certificate until ordered to do so by the Supreme Court in 2017.• In Mississippi, a lower court refused to award parental rights in a divorce case to the non-biological mother of a 7-year-old boy conceived using an anonymous sperm donor. Eventually, the state Supreme Court affirmed the mother’s rights.In Texas, Houston is fighting for rights for its gay workers after the state Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision favoring benefits for legal spouses of city employees, which could include same-sex spouses. The state Supreme Court action is alarming, Goldberg said, because it suggests the court didn’t think the landmark 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage also extended to employment benefits.  
Religious exemptionsSupporters of religious exemptions —  laws that let people, churches, non-profits and sometimes businesses cite religious beliefs as a reason to not comply with a law — say exemptions are an American right, dating to the Revolution. The laws "teach us how to live in a pluralistic society that recognizes we don’t all believe the same thing," said Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family, a Christian conservative [hate group] organization that opposes same-sex marriage. But exemption laws loom large over the daily lives of LGBT families, according to the MAP report. Currently, 21 states have some type of religious exemption laws on the books.  . . . . Only 19 states and the District of Columbia have protections from discrimination in public accommodations — meaning that in most places in the country, LGBT parents and kids can be refused service or booted from a business by someone who cites a religious belief. A 2018 proposed federal rule by the Health and Human Services Department that would let health care providers decide what procedures to perform and what patients to treat based on their religious beliefs adds more firepower.  “What we are seeing really privileges doctors’ religious beliefs over a patient’s best interest,” Goldberg said, noting that if an LGBT person lives in a rural area with only one or two doctors the individual could not have access to health care at all. 
Indeed, there are a number of reported cases where doctors have refused to provide care to the children of same sex couples.  The Hippocratic oath loses out to Bible thumping. As noted, in rural areas with few alternatives available, this phenomenon can become life threatening. In my view, religion remains one of the great evils in the world. 

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