HB 2401 - Because Measure 36 is just the start.

By Kenneth Brown of Beaverton, Oregon who describes himself as "a burnt-out software engineer."

Well the Oregon Legislature is back in session, and they've just gotten right to work, haven't they? Rep. John Lim, chair of the House Trade and Economic Development committee is sponsoring HB 2401. This feel-good, kick-em-while-they're-down measure targets adoptive same-sex couples.

HB 2401 focuses on providing preference to married couples over unmarried couples or singles in adoptions. The only exceptions made would be for blood relatives, people with emotional ties (like foster parents), or for special needs children.

Special needs is an interesting term in the adoption lexicon. Like a real-estate agent who uses terms like Character, Personality, or Fixer-Upper, it covers a spectrum of situations.

A special needs child could be handicapped, have emotional problems, or just be stuck with the wrong skin color.

What's insideous about this bill is how it would work in practice. While HB 2401 also gives preference to Oregon residents - it'll surely be read to give married non-residents preference over shacked-up locals. Between the law and bureaucratic inertia non-married adoptive parents would be offered only special needs children.

While gays have proven excellent parents to special needs kids, I really doubt Rep. Lim has the best interests of these kids in mind. I may be cynical, but this whole situation has a eugenics-y second-class kids for second-class parents feel to it.

Which brings me to another reservation about this bill. It has no provision for the rights of the birth mother. One of the things that makes Oregon popular on the adoption circuit is that Open Adoption is available here.

Open Adoption is a process where the birth mother, and the adoptive parents have ongoing contact. In these adoptions, the birth mother picks the parents via the adoption agency.

Under HB2401, these agencies would have to show preference to married couples. This would mean that if a birth mother wanted to place her child with an unmarried couple or single - and there was a married couple available, her choice would not be respected. (For anyone who wonders why/if a birth mother might choose a same-sex couple, try reading The Kid.)

Instead of closing this with a rant on how there is no evidence that married straight couples make better parents that same-sex couples (and there isn't), I want to instead draw out a scenario for you, one which disproves the notion that married couples are the best possible adoptive parents.


How many of you grew up around extended family? Hillary Clinton may be wrong about a lot of things, but "It takes a village" wasn't one of them.

If a married couple has an adult relative living with them, be it a mother, father, or sibling - DHS requires all adults living in a home to adopt together.

So congratulations, Rep. Lim! Not only have you written a law that discriminates against prospective adoptive parents, demeans the special needs children they do adopt, and denies birth mothers the right to choose who will raise their baby - You've also come up with the perfect excuse for husbands to refuse to allow their mother-in-law to come live with them.

You must be so proud.


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    This entry is a call-to-arms for re-doubling our efforts in 05 in re: to the OR legislsature.

    We must take back the House!!!

    One of the best ways to do that is by getting on the Bus (the OR Bus Project, that is).

    And oh yeah, they have some great lobby trips coming up as well so we can give the legis. a piece of our mind (in an educated, informed way, of course).


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    We could start by actually contesting every seat in the Oregon House, for starters.

    But to the point, the right's talk of a "homosexual agenda" is just projection. Instead, this is step two of their agenda.

    Eventually, you'll see other steps taken to marginalize gays in Oregon. Maybe sodomy gets broadened a little bit and reintroduced to ORS. Maybe if you're gay, you can have a "Q" code on your driver's license.

    Thankfully, Lim's hateful bill will die the gruesome death it deserves in the Oregon Senate.

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    Why contest every seat when you can instead focus resources (time, money, & volunteer energy) on going after only the marginal ones?

    I'm not saying digusting GOP legislators should be left unopposed, but what matters here is who controls the agenda. If progressives do, we win & bills such as this are never able to see the light of day.

    We need to start thinking & acting more strategically - hence the magic of the Bus formula!!

    (Click on my name to access their website to find out what cool new things they're up to these days).

  • LT (unverified)

    Yes, the Bus did a good job flipping control of the Senate, but what about the House? Shouldn't more resources have gone to Marion County House candidates? Just think what would have happened if Doyle and Dalto had lost.

    Or would Portlanders rather let it be debated whether unions and Portlanders have an unhealthy influence on Democratic politics and if the rest of the state doesn't like that then tough luck?

  • wmac (unverified)

    I am not against homosexuality, be it inate or a choice, but I think it is a dangerous course to take for them to adopt. I'm sure they can make good parents, and be loving. But if we look at it like nature would, since they cannot naturally procreate, it is unatural to raise a child. Beyond the provision of basic neds, food, shelter, and love, there is the psychological effect on a child. Why do I have two daddys or mommys. How come other kids don't? As they grow to a certain age, and become aware of the quandry of how they came to be, they are certain to be confused and affected by the difference in the family structure. It is hard enough for kids to cope with divorce and single parenthood, leading to all kind of behavior modification. Natural law requires a man and a women to create life, and the complimentry traits and strenghts of the male and female balance is required to raise a well adjusted child. as the Chinese would point out, the yin and yang energy of the family will be out of balance. not good. We as modern humans, because of our technology, have the mind set that we can abbrogate the laws of nature. Watch out, its not nice to fool mother nature! It can and will likely backfire on us in the most unforeseen ways.

  • Kenneth Brown (unverified)

    As the author of this article I thought I'd respond to wmac's comment.

    It looks like there's a few seperate points to contend with here.

    1.) "I'm sure they can make good parents, and be loving."

    2.) "But if we look at it like nature would, since they cannot naturally procreate, it is unatural to raise a child."

    3.) "As they grow to a certain age, and become aware of the quandry of how they came to be,"

    4.) "Natural law requires a man and a women to create life"

    5.) "We as modern humans, because of our technology, have the mind set that we can abbrogate the laws of nature."

    Just for kicks, let's address these in reverse.

    5.) Too right. Lord Alfred Tennyson describes a "Nature red in tooth and claw." I suppose we really start asking for trouble when we don't let orphans make their own way in the world.

    4.) Depnds on who you ask. I know the Raelians would disagree, but then again so might anyone who looks at modern reproductive technologies. The genie's out of the bottle.

    3.) Most teens feel slightly queasy comtemplating where they came from. It's normal.

    2.) Umm.. no. Life sucks and bad things happen. Every day, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and perfect strangers take in children who need homes and raise them as thier own. This adoption behavior has been observed in other mammals as well.

    1.) Then why did I have to write these responses? If there are a set of good loving parents available, who cares what gender they are?

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