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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Editorial: Day of Silence reminds us to count our blessings

Today marks the Day of Silence, in which participants take a daylong vow of silence as part of a national effort to “”speak”” out against the harassment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community.  

The Day of Silence comes as a timely reminder of how lucky many citizens are in both social settings and at a statewide, legislative level.

This week, Arizona lawmakers approved Senate Bill 1188, which, if signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, would give preference to married couples looking to adopt a child.

The bill states that “”in determining who can best meet the child’s needs, the division or agency shall give primary consideration to an adoptive placement with a married man and woman if all other relevant factors demonstrate that placement with that married man or woman is in the child’s best interests.””

It doesn’t explicitly prohibit adoption by a single person or unmarried couple, but directs the Department of Economic Security and private adoption agencies to select a married couple when placing a child, if all other factors are equal.

In other words, single people will have to try really hard if they want to adopt a kid, and gay couples just shouldn’t bother since they can’t get married in this state.

While the bill doesn’t actually say either of those things, its language is an obvious giveaway that the Arizona Legislature would, prefer that married heterosexual couples be given priority over all other candidates for placing children in homes.

“”I think the good Lord and Mother Nature have determined that it takes a man and a woman to create a new life,”” said state Rep. Judy Burges, a sponsor of the bill, told the East Valley Tribune. “”That simply cannot happen between a man and man or a woman and a woman. And the good Lord has also determined that the best union is that of a marriage between a man and a woman.””

While someone clearly needs to explain to Burges that the ability to have straight sex doesn’t make you a good parent, she also fails to acknowledge a 2010 study published in the journal Pediatrics suggesting that lesbian couples tend to raise as well or better-adjusted children who also have fewer behavioral problems than straight couples.

According to state Rep. Justin Olson’s justification for the adoption bill, single parents do “”tremendous work,”” but “”our family structure has been under attack for decades.””

Olson’s justification suggests a narrow definition of what qualifies as a “”family structure,”” in which single parents or same-sex parents somehow provide an inadequate “”structure”” for children.

Furthermore, the legislation supposes that there are enough married couples interested in adopting to go around for every child that needs to be placed, and dismisses the idea that a single parent or unmarried couple (same-sex or not) could provide just as warm and loving a home as any married couple could.

As the UA observes the Day of Silence today, along with campuses across the nation, many people should consider themselves grateful for the ability to get married, adopt children or go about their daily lives without being concerned about other people legislating their personal lives.

If you’re a heterosexual person, consider observing today’s Day of Silence in solidarity. Countless LGBTQ individuals must be silent every day about whom they love, or risk persecution not just from their peers but, as S.B. 1188 and laws of its ilk show, from their elected leaders, as well. By being silent for a scant 24 hours, you might just get a sense of how painful it would be to spend your life that way. And hopefully, you’ll understand just how privileged those  whose sexuality never interferes with their ability to live their lives freely are.

Join a community in its fight for fairness, security and recognition, and take a rare and prime opportunity to examine the ways in which you are privileged and free.

 

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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