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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
April 20, 2007

No gay ban in adoption law reform,
sponsor says

But Equality Ohio is still worried about it

Columbus--The sponsor of an upcoming comprehensive revision of Ohio’s adoption laws says the bill will not contain any ban on LGBT adoption or foster parenting.

“That’s not our intention,” said Rep. Thomas Brinkman Jr. of Cincinnati. “That’s not in my bill.”

Brinkman, a Republican, filed a “placeholder” bill February 20 that he intends to replace with a measure to reform Ohio’s adoption laws. The laws were last visited by lawmakers in the early 1990s.

Seeing the proposal, which is H.B. 7, triggered a reaction from Equality Ohio, which worries that it could contain an LGBT ban.

“Brinkman was a sponsor of last year's attempted adoption ban and he is the person who sued Miami University for providing domestic partner benefits to employees,” the group said in an April 12 email. “He is not alone . . . Citizens for Community Values is organizing their own ‘Family Lobby Day’ on April 25. Their website lists ‘banning homosexual adoption and foster parenting’ as a priority issue.”

Brinkman has close ties to the anti-gay CCV and its president Phil Burress. He helped with their attempt to stop Cincinnati’s LGBT human rights ordinance last year. That and the Miami suit make him one of the most anti-gay legislators in the Ohio General Assembly.

The 2006 adoption ban bill was H.B. 515, sponsored by former Rep. Ron Hood (R). It would have banned adoptions and foster parenting by LGBT people. The measure would also have barred foster children, straight or gay, from being placed in a home where an LGBT person lived, even if it was another child.

That bill was sidelined by House Speaker Jon Husted of Kettering, also a Republican. Husted was an adopted child and opposes any action that would keep children out of loving homes.

Husted’s spokesperson, Karen Tabor, said Husted has not changed his position on this, and does not expect anything like that to be in Brinkman’s new bill, which is considered a legislative priority.

Brinkman said the bill will address ways to make adoptions of Ohio children easier “by couples and individuals,” and for the people putting children up for adoption.

“Too many people are going overseas” to adopt children, Brinkman said, which he attributed to cost, the possibility of birth parents taking the child back, and long waits before the adoptions are final.

Brinkman also said Ohio’s 88 counties are not equal in their aggressiveness and effectiveness getting children placed, in part because of judicial issues. He said the bill will address some of those matters, as well.

Brinkman said he is meeting with Governor Ted Strickland about the bill next week and expects to introduce the final version shortly after that. He hopes to have it passed the House by the end of June.

Equality Ohio executive director Lynne Bowman believes the LGBT community is not out of the woods. She said that an adoption ban bill can be introduced by another lawmaker, possibly in the Senate.

 

 

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