Do you ever ask yourself why the state of Alaska has $4.5 million to revive the Knik Arm Bridge boondoggle, but can't seem to shake enough out of the couch cushions to pay for essential services? OK. That's all I will say about that for now, because we've got something to celebrate!
House Bill 151 passed this week! Praise all that is good in the world that the Children Deserve A Loving Home Act passed the Senate! See, there are almost 3,000 children in foster care in Alaska. Our friends and neighbors who work daily on behalf of these children have been worked to a frazzle. During a five-year period, there has been a 50 percent jump in the caseloads at the Office of Children's Services. The staffing hasn't matched the increase in work. The bill funded $2.5 million for additional training and workload standards are now more manageable. This is fantastic news for not only the children who need loving homes, but also the OCS staff who are responsible for those placements.
While scanning my emails, one line popped out at me. "Adoption Victory!" Well, I have a soft spot for adoption victories. A member of my family recently adopted a child and, to be honest, my first thought was "This little person just won the lottery! Our family has so much love in it!" That was pretty short-sighted on my part. We won the lottery. A victory of love and it's just about the most amazing thing ever.
Click. I opened the email.
"Our colleagues in Kansas recently passed a law we'll be advocating for here in Alaska next legislative session. There are now nine states that have passed such legislation," wrote Jim Minnery.
If you don't know Minnery, he's one of those for-profit "Christians" who makes anyone who has actually read the Bible shudder. He wraps his bigotry, misogyny and hate up with a hilarious claim that all he does is "In His Name!"
The legislation Minnery can hardly wait to push next year would "protect" adoption agencies who discriminate against same-sex couples who want to give forever homes to children. The manufactured victimhood he espouses is really something. Maybe my favorite line talks about organizations declining to provide a service that "conflicts with the provider's sincerely held religious or moral beliefs." He's not fighting for a vegan emergency responder to not be forced to save a guy choking on a steak wrapped in bacon, though the vegan may have some beliefs about karma. Minnery wants to keep loving parents from adopting children.
He warns, "Many faith-based adoption and foster agencies have chosen to close their doors rather than place children with same-sex couples." Good. Can they deny mixed-race couples? What about families with different religions? What do they think is going to happen? It reminds me of the lawmaker who suggested we just put all the gays in one place and "they'll only last a generation." Think about that. Generally speaking, gay people come from straight couples. Why is this hard for some people?
In case you're wondering, Minnery's email didn't mention the easily found number of Alaskan children waiting for adoption: 866. There are 866 children who need loving homes. Maybe one of them is waiting for you. In the "Adoption Victory" screed, there was no call for Christian families to open their hearts and homes to these kids. There was no praise for those who have and continue to love and support their children. I could find no link for resources for parenting, support groups or legal advice for those adopting, play date hookups for new kids, but there was a big red "donate" button. Cha-ching! The "victory" Minnery was championing was denying parenthood to a segment of our population.
Having lost the battle nationally against same-sex marriage — which most of us just call "marriage" — the folks who make money off waving Jesus around have to fill their coffers somehow. Oh, there's still plenty of fundraising around abortion, but they really have found a new way to profit off of bigotry against the LGBT community. Instead of denying marriage to consenting adults, they are working to deny homes to kids. That's sick. If you contribute to Alaska Family Action, that's what you are paying for.
We can do better, Alaska.
Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.
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