Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bigotry don't come cheap

I am a big fan of the upside of everything.  I understand it often does not counterbalance the downside.  All too often the upside could have come about without the downside at all, but somehow sometimes it just doesn't. 

Last week one of those "if not for slavery, we wouldn't have all that fine gospel music" moments opened up here in Fladidah.  This state, if you do not know already, is one of the harder hit by the losses in the market.  Many tough financial decisions had already been avoided for decades; I used to marvel at the legislature preaching the badness (?badity?badhood?) of the "tax & spend" minority party without recognizing that not taxing but spending anyway was likely to be more of a problem down the road.  Guess where we are now-the end of that road. Because this same state also relies almost wholly on sales tax to generate income, we are double screwed: when no money gets spent, no sales tax gets collected & everything slows to a crawl.

One of the things they did love to spend that not-taxed money on was fighting the rights of homosexuals to adopt children.  Special needs children.  The children the state likes to throw under the bus when times get tough...or even might get not-so-tough.  When a special needs child is adopted by a straight person or couple, the child remains eligible for certain benefits, mostly of the Medicaid variety, but others as well.  The idea was to get special needs kids into permanent homes that wanted them but could not pay the extra health costs (because in Fladidah universal healthcare is of the devil).  & it was a great idea.  & it worked, well, great.  If these kids stayed in state custody, DCF would have these expenses plus all the others, room & board & so forth.  Everybody was winning.

Then in 2008 an activist judge ruled that Fladidah had no grounds for denying a gay man's adoption of the boy that had been in his care for SEVEN YEARS, five as a foster child & two as a permanent ward.  The short version is if the state could leave the kid there for such a long time without having cause to remove him, they had no grounds for denying an adoption (little FYI: adoption of special needs foster children for not-gay parents can take less than a year; DCF's own website estimates about eight months).  So DCF decide to wash their hands of the whole affair, including the very services they provided every other child in exactly the same circumstances...except the adoptive parent is not gay.  Because not-gay parents never have to seek the "guardianship" which was all homosexual foster parents were allowed & this same guardianship was the reason DCF considered itself off the hook.

Would you believe a guy who will take DCF to court once will take them to court twice?  It seems like a no-brainer to me, too.  Last week DCF gave up.  The most recent case had just gone against them, but there were more tiers left in the appeals process.  What there wasn't was the cash to pay for them.  It is very very very hard for even the most conservative representatives of conservative districts to learn that 100s of thousands of dollars have been thrown down this hole & that it will NEVER END. 

The good news is other cases are queuing up & it looks like the days of Fladidah's endless wrangling over anti-homosexual legislation is at least temporarily halted because they just cannot pay the wranglers.

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