Colorado HB02-1356 should be dismissed as the gay-bashing irrelevancy that it is.

Colorado General Assembly
Pam Rhodes
Straight Parents - Strong Families

    Hypocrisy on the Hill
Denver Post Editorial
March 24, 2002

Whenever the Colorado Legislature starts lecturing the citizenry about morality, our thoughts turn to St. Matthew, chapter 7, verse 3:

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

A good example of such hypocrisy is House Bill 1356, by Rep. Pam Rhodes, R-Thornton. This deceptively simple bill states, among other things, that: "No new certificate of birth shall be prepared by the state registrar that reflects more than one female parent or more than one male parent."

Why is this an issue at all? Simply because several women in committed partnerships, where at least one is pregnant, have asked courts to list the names of both women on the child's birth certificate. In a few cases, the courts have done so.

In such a case, it is pointless to debate whether the baby thus ushered into the world would have been better in the home of a traditional family headed by a man and woman. Any real sense of family values would argue that raising the child in a committed same-sex two-parent family would generally be better than reducing that family to single-mom status. That is why some judges have acquiesced to adding the "second mother's" name to the birth certificate.

Frankly, we're not comfortable with such documents, which are likely to pose as many problems as they may resolve. The right solution would be for the woman who is not the birth mother to be allowed to adopt the infant, assuming in the process all the legal responsibilities of a parent. Obviously, allowing adoption by gay couples is also eminently fairer to gay men - who do not have the option of becoming pregnant but who have shown themselves to be capable of being responsible fathers in states where such adoptions are allowed.

If the legislature wants to purge our adoption laws of such anti-gay bias, we'd be more than happy to include a ban on the practice of trying to cite two women as mothers on a birth certificate as part of such a reform.

But two-mommy birth certificates are only an awkward and inadequate detour around an unjust law, just as the underground railroad was a desperate expedient to escape the horror of slavery, not an optimal transportation network. The answer is to eliminate the injustice, not just bar the detour.

Take the beam out of your own eye by purging the anti-gay bigotry from Colorado's adoption laws, Rep. Rhodes, and we'll happily flick away the mote of "two-mommy" birth certificates. But until the lawmakers are willing to redress that broader injustice, they should kill HB 1356 as the gay-bashing irrelevancy that it is.

Denver Post editorial (3-24-2002).  (e-mail) Contents -- April 21, 2002