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Gay adoption.

I am a member of the Bar, and I also serve as a co-director of the Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network, as one of the chairs of the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange of the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of South Florida. I have read the George L. Metcalfe advertisement placed in the July 15 News and I was very disappointed to read his unfortunate words.

We all know that there are many and diverse opinions about the gay and lesbian community and they are not all rosy. But, as educated people, we must draw the line somewhere in spreading those based upon ignorance and intolerance, two characteristics that have no place in civilized society. Although my opinions are strictly my own, through my experience with various organizations that are part of the gay and lesbian community, I have met countless loving, nurturing, and emotionally healthy gay and lesbian parents, a population invisible to Mr. Metcalfe, and whose stories of love and support are as compelling as the sad story shared in his paid advertisement.

Mr. Metcalfe chastises the Family Law Section for promoting acceptance, tolerance, and diversity in our families, our communities, and in our society as a whole. It is no wonder it could only be heard if he paid people to listen. It is my hope that the persons who make the decisions within and without the State of Florida will not succumb to scare tactics, ignorance, and discrimination and will arm themselves with accurate information and knowledge that is deserving of decisions of great importance, such as those related to the welfare of our children. I applaud the members of our Bar who have supported diversity. Hats off to you!

Richard M. Stoll

Ft. Lauderdale

Attorney George Metcalfe's advertisement in the July 15th issue of the News both touched and angered me. It is sad that Ms. Stefanowicz had a difficult childhood and that her father apparently valued his social life more than his daughter. However, bad parents come in all shapes, sizes, races, religions, and yes, sexual orientations, too.

There has never been any correlation shown between sexual orientation and parenting skills. For every child who had to endure bad parenting by a gay or lesbian parent, there are probably 100 who can come forward with stories of loving and nurturing parents. Unfortunately, straight parents don't have a monopoly on bad parenting so you can always find a "Dawn" to come forward. She may have loved her father but her use of the term "recruit" shows how little she understood him.

It is sad that in the 21st century we are still hearing echoes of Anita Bryant. I am waiting for the day when the reaction to the news that someone is gay is "so what?" The time has come for human beings to treat each other as human beings--not as black or white, not as Christian or Jew, and not as gay or straight--just fellow human beings.

Florida's children deserve good parents and if they happen to be gay--so what? It is time for Florida's gay adoption ban to be taken off the books and become just a reminder of how hateful human beings can be toward each other so that we may strive to be better.

Miriam Richter

Hollywood

I read the advertisement placed in the last issue of the News by George Metcalfe. Interestingly, the protagonist in his story was not even adopted, but was instead the biological child of her father. I suppose the point that Mr. Metcalfe was trying to make is that all gays and lesbians are unfit to be parents, while all straight people are. If so, why are there 19,747 children in foster care in Florida?

The answer is that, just like with gay parents, there are some great parents, and there are some not-so-great parents. Thus, the better practice would be to fully scrutinize the placement of children, as opposed to barring an entire segment of the population from providing good homes to kids who are desperately in need of one.

Patrick C. Howell

Altamonte Springs

The Florida Bar Board of Governors voted unanimously to allow the Family Law Section to file an amicus brief in support of gay adoption.

When the Florida Supreme Court placed its stamp of approval on the amicus brief filing by the section, the Supreme Court made special note of the unanimous nature of the Board of Governors' approval.

The gay adoption controversy reveals how out of touch both the Board of Governors and the Family Law Section are with a very large contingent of Florida Bar members.

Maybe this is simply a veiled invitation to members of The Florida Bar who oppose gay adoption to coordinate as a group and file their own amicus brief in support of existing law.

Daryl Nedelisky

Ocala

I am writing in response to the "advertisement" titled "What's so gay about it?" that appeared in the July 15 issue. I applaud The Florida Bar News for having the moral courage to publish an "advertisement" in a professional journal that even the National Enquirer would have refused to print. Most publications try not to offend an entire group of people with an "advertisement," but fortunately The Florida Bar News has no such standards, so good for you.

Next, I would like to say "kudos" to George Metcalfe, the author of the "advertisement." I applaud your courage, integrity, and insight into human behavior for pointing out that heterosexual couples have indeed cornered the market on morality, sexuality, and childrearing. Everyone knows that heterosexuals are never lousy parents, never descend into depression or suicide, don't molest children, don't abuse their families, are never promiscuous, and don't catch STDs or die from AIDS; everyone knows AIDS is only a gay disease.

I also applaud your use of personal anecdotes to condemn an entire group of people. Lastly, it should be noted for the record that the current wards of the state are the exclusive products of the heterosexual relationships that the author is advocating for. So much for family values.

I am eagerly awaiting the next issue of The Florida Bar News. I never realized that as long as you pasted the word "advertisement" over an op-ed piece, that anything can be published, no matter how bizarre. I am expecting a series of thoughtful and stimulating "advertisements" in upcoming issues such as Heinrich Himmler: The Comic Genius of the Third Reich; The Lighter Side of the KKK; and Charlie Manson: The Misunderstood Musician.

Meredith A. Hart

Lantana

I am surprised and saddened that The Florida Bar News saw fit to sell space to George Metcalfe for the purpose of expressing a very slanted point of view.

Mr. Metcalfe correctly states that the heart of the adoption issue is about the rights of children, not adults. What he fails to acknowledge is that Florida's statutory prohibition of adoption by gay individuals denies children the right to good, loving homes by excluding a class of parents who both want them and are able to care for and love them.

The story of Ms. Stefanowicz' upbringing is heartbreaking. So are the stories of all children who are raised in homes by adults who do not want them. To intimate that her tragic situation is the exclusive purview of the gay community is to ignore the plight of hundreds if not thousands of Florida children who are subjected to similar revolving doors of boyfriends and to other behaviors that are inappropriate and damaging. Sadly, these deplorable behaviors occur in every walk of life; they are not limited to the gay community. To make the leap of logic that Ms. Stefanowicz' gay father was bad, therefore all gay fathers are bad, fails the most basic logic tests that are required for admission to law school.

Florida's children should have the right to good homes with parents who want them and will love and care for them. The adoption process by definition includes prospective parents who truly want children--unlike the traditional birth process, it is quite impossible to adopt a child by accident. Denying our children the right to stable, loving homes when such homes are available is unconscionable. Shame on Florida for using the gay issue to deny our most vulnerable children this fundamental right. And shame on The Florida Bar News for allowing Mr. Metcalfe's "advertisement" to run in what I had thought was a credible publication.

Tanya D. Simpson

Ft. Lauderdale
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Stoll, Richard M.; Richter, Miriam; Howell, Patrick C.; Nedelisky, Daryl; Hart, Meredith A.; Simpson
Publication:Florida Bar News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Aug 1, 2009
Words:1426
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