Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crazy Arizona Legislation? Just a Regular Day in the Desert

Posted By on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Linda Gray, was expected to meet this morning to discuss two crazy bills—both sponsored by Gray.

The first bill is SB 1188, which would require Arizona adoption agencies give first consideration in adoptions to a married man and woman. This means that, potentially, single people would not be able to adopt if more married people stepped forward.

Keep in mind that in Arizona gay families are not eligible to adopt together. (As of now, a person who is gay can adopt, but that person's partner would not be able to legally be the adopted child's parent.)

The proposed law does allow agencies to allow a single person to adopt as long as it's in the child's bests interests (but how will that be defined?) or if a married couple isn't available and the alternative is extended foster care.

Right now, the need for foster care and adoption placement is at an all-time high in Arizona. Obviously, more "married" heterosexual couples aren't filling waiting lists to adopt children in Arizona. Is this really the best way to make sure children, who are wards of the state, are given every opportunity to have a family they need and deserve?

The other bill sponsored by Gray is SB 1187, a divorce bill that could force the courts to extend the 60-day waiting period required before a divorce moves forward. This extension can be up to 120 days, and the request must include a reason.

The idea is to prevent divorces. If you're in an abusive relationship, forget it; you'll have to "wait" and hope that abuse is looked at as a good enough reason to get divorced.

Welcome to Arizona, a state where anything is possible, even if it sounds crazy.

If these bills pass, Arizona will not only continue to be the state where lawmakers continue to ignore the budget and prefer crazy-making laws; we'll also end up with a reputation as a state that views families with a very narrow lens. And that's unfortunate.

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