Legislators file joint adoption bills for LGBT parents

Anchia.RafaelRep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, and Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, filed companion bills today (Wednesday, Dec. 17) that would allow adopted children in Texas to have the names of both parents listed on their supplemental birth certificates, regardless of the parents’ gender.

HB 537 and SB 250 would amend the Texas Health and Safety Code, which requires the supplemental birth certificate of an adopted child be in the names of the adoptive parents, one female and the other male.

“Texas families come in all shapes and sizes, including those formed by adoption. An adopted child needs to have a birth certificate that accurately reflects the child’s family,“  said Anchia.  “Texas laws should protect and support the rights of children and families — not hinder them.”

Under the current law, adopted children of same-gender couples are denied accurate birth certificates, which can cause difficulty in obtaining a passport or Social Security card or in registering for school.

“This bill removes an unreasonable obstacle to some children getting the important legal documentation they need,“  Garcia said.  “A birth certificate is vital and should accurately reflect both parents.  Neither these children nor their parents should be burdened with an incomplete birth certificate that omits a loving parent.”

As it stands, the requirement compels same-gender parents to carry and present documentation proving their legal parentage for medical care, school enrollment and international travel. Without a birth certificate, the child is left in legal limbo and can never have the same recognition of family status that is afforded other adopted children.

This will be the fourth consecutive legislative session that Anchia has filed this legislation. This is the first time the bill has been filed in the Senate.

—  James Russell

Oklahoma Supreme Court allows same-sex parents to seek custody

oklahoma-marriageThe Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled today (Wednesday, Nov. 12) that non-biological parents in a same-sex relationship can seek custody of children they raised based on an agreement to parent together.

The decision found there is no public policy in Oklahoma against a child having same-sex parents, and if a biological parent jointly conceives children with a non-biological parent and then raises those children together, she cannot deny the other parent the ability to seek custody or visitation based on their agreement.

“We applaud the Oklahoma Supreme Court for recognizing that when two parents raise a child together, both parents should be allowed to seek custody, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or biological ties,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura. “This decision recognizes that every child’s best interests must be protected when their parents break up, no matter what their family looks like.”

Julie Eldredge and Karen Taylor were in a long-term relationship and entered a civil union in New Zealand. They jointly decided to have two children through donor insemination, and they raised the children together for seven years until Karen, the biological mother, unilaterally cut off contact between Julie and the children. Julie sought shared custody of the children, but the trial court denied her petition for lack of standing.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Eldredge is able to seek custody based on the parties’ agreement to parent the children, so long as custody is in the best interests of the children. The court also noted that same-sex parents in Oklahoma may obtain second-parent adoptions, where the non-biological parent may adopt without terminating the biological parent’s rights, but that same-sex parents who do not adopt may still seek custody based on an agreement.

“The public policy of this state mandates that the district court consider the best interests of the children before they lose one of the only two parents they have ever known,” the court wrote in its ruling.

“The real winners here are the children, whose rights to have loving parents are protected,” said Melody Huckaby Rowlett, attorney for Eldredge.

—  David Taffet

Chan and incumbent Campbell say gays shouldn’t be allowed to adopt

Chan.Elisa

Elisa Chan

At a candidate screening by the San Antonio Express-News for state Senate District 25, two candidates, Elisa Chan and incumbent Sen. Donna Campbell, made their anti-gay views apparent. The third was noncommittal, according to Texas Freedom Network.

Chan made a name for herself last summer when she served on the San Antonio City Council, and an aide recorded an office meeting about how she could vote “no” on the city’s proposed nondiscrimination ordinance without incurring political fallout. Chan never apologized. Instead she blamed the ex-staffer for recording the conversation, resigned from the council and announced a run for the state Senate.

The question was, “Should gay couples be allowed to adopt?”

Chan: No.

Campbell: No.

Bexar County Commissioner Mike Novak: I’m not the judge.

Every time the Texas Legislature has broached the subject of gay couples adopting, Texas Child Protective Services has quietly but forcefully intervened to let legislators know that without the LGBT community, there’s no way CPS could handle the number of children in foster care each year.

Campbell, who has four adoptive children, is proposing reforms to the state’s adoption laws to make it easier to adopt children — apparently unless you’re gay.

 

—  David Taffet

Pat Robertson, protecting families from “weird” adopted kids

Although he does not mention gay adoption at all — that would be a longer clip, I’m sure — I felt compelled to share this little bit of Christian hatred and selfishness from the diseased mind of Pat Robertson, who comes out against adoption because he knows adopted kids grow up “weird.” No weirder than he ended up.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Pet of the Week • 02.24.12

TOBY

PET.TobyToby is an adorable little terrier mix with a wiry cream-colored coat. He just loves people and is great with other small dogs. Toby is 8 months old and weighs 12 pounds.  This friendly fellow will make a loving, lifelong friend.

Toby and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org or call 214-671-0249.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the week • 02.10.12

Gloria

Gloria702701-1

Gloria

Gloria is a precious 5-month-old black kitten with a most unusual marking — a white band around her middle, which gives her a distinct and unique look. Gloria has other great attributes, too. She’s super-friendly, playful and full of fun. This cutie will make a great addition to any family.

Gloria and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays 12 noon-5 p.m. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the week • 01.27.12

Stewie

Pet.Stewie

Stewie

Stewie is a sweet brindle terrier mix who, despite the name, is a girl dog. She’s 11⁄2 years old and full grown at 42 pounds. Stewie is gentle, affectionate and eager to please. And because she’s been at Dallas Animal Services for more than 45 days, her adoption cost is just $42.50.

Stewie and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days, and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 27, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the Week • 01.13.12

Snow

Pet-Snow

Snow

Snow is one of the happiest, friendliest dogs you’ll ever meet. She’s 10 months old and full grown at 46 pounds. Snow loves people and should do fine with other dogs. With her sunny personality and great demeanor, Snow will make a faithful canine companion.

Snow and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the Week • 01.06.12

Oscar

Pet-OScar

Oscar

Oscar is an adorable 6-month-old purebred miniature poodle currently at Operation Kindness and looking for a family to call his own. He has a beautiful, shiny, apricot coat that he wears with pride. He enjoys sitting in your lap, and he loves to cuddle. He will steal your heart and make a great pet for any family. He has been neutered and is current on all his shots and is ready for adoption.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit OperationKindness.org.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the Week • 12.30.11

Pet-HappyHappy

Happy is an aptly named love bug. She’s a 7-month-old terrier-beagle mix who currently weighs about 28 pounds but, like many of us this time of the year, could stand to lose a few. She’s eager to please, full of energy and loving.  Happy is a friendly girl who’s hoping for a forever home for the New Year.

Happy and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays 12 noon-5 p.m. This weekend, the shelter will close at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and be closed on New Year’s Day. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for animals in the shelter longer than 45 days, to senior citizens and to those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit www.DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249.

—  Kevin Thomas