Sensitivity training for California foster parents

Posted: Aug 28, 2002 12:00 AM
Under a bill just approved by the California legislature, a teenage boy in foster care could report his foster parents for a civil rights violation if they refuse to allow him to dress like a girl. Last week, the California State Assembly, with no Republican votes, approved Bill 2651 and sent it to Governor Gray Davis, who is now considering his decision. Under the bill, California counties would be encouraged to provide sensitivity training for foster parents on "sexual orientation, gender identity and the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth, or youth with gender issues." The bill would not strictly require foster parents to participate in this training program, but that doesn't give much comfort to its opponents. The Campaign for California Families (CCF) says the bill would pressure foster parents into the training because those who decline may be less likely to have children placed in their homes. Religious foster parents are already complaining about being blacklisted, according to the CCF, for their personal support of spanking and their moral opposition to homosexuality. The bill would require the California Department of Social Services to target for recruitment "gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender foster parents. It would also effectively accord civil rights status to transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. Foster children would be able to turn their foster parents in if they demonstrated insufficient sensitivity to their sexual orientation, expression or behavior. I am not making this up. In fact, the bill would establish a toll-free telephone number to be given to foster children by social workers to enable the children to report physical, sexual or emotional abuse "regardless of whether the abuse is specifically related to his or her sexual orientation or gender identity." There's more. The bill would prohibit the state from denying placement to foster parents based on their HIV or AIDS status, provided they "are able to perform foster care responsibilities." The CCF and others are concerned that this provision would result in exposing foster children to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS through accidental transmission. The CCF also thinks the bill would have a chilling effect on certain foster parents. Certain Christians, for example, may decide against foster parenting since they would be barred from discouraging the gay and lesbian lifestyle or cross-dressing in their own homes. How can we expect them to raise children contrary to principles firmly imbedded in their consciences? Where are the outcries from the usual suspects demanding the strict separation of church and state? Why the conspicuous silence from those always complaining about the state "legislating morality"? First Amendment questions aside, there is no doubt that this law involves the state's coerced imposition of certain "religious" values. The bill's proponents can hide behind their secular mantle all they want, but the intellectually honest among us understand that for all practical purposes secular humanism is a religion. Even the bill's author, Assemblywoman Judy Chu, conceded the bill's implications as to values when she said, "Foster youth should not be ... told that they are wrong for being who they are." Gay and lesbian rights proponents often insist they do not want special rights and don't want to infringe on the rights of others. But this bill would infringe on the rights of people with traditional values and would constitute the state's sanctioning of lifestyles that our society has always considered taboo. No one captures the gay-lesbian agenda more incisively than Reid Buckley, in "USA Today: The Stunning Incoherence of American Civilization," his brilliant and sobering book documenting (and lamenting) the decline of American culture across the board. "Tolerance and compassion for homosexual friends and acquaintances is one thing, and good; another thing, and bad, is obsequiousness by 'straight' society before the strident gay and lesbian lobbies ... " says Buckley. "They are belligerent, coercive and intolerant. That is, they practice the evils that they accuse the 'straight' majority of practicing ... In defiance of biology, reason and codes of morality dating back 5,000 years, they wish not merely to have their sexual usage deemed normal, but their every demand normative." "What they seek is not so much acceptance by society as destruction of the basic social unit, which is the heterosexual family. For them, that is the enemy ... " Regardless of whether you agree with this assessment, you would be hard-pressed to deny that bit-by-bit our traditional values are being eviscerated by our culture and outlawed by the state. That so few seem to be up in arms about this, is itself a testament to our society's decline.