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Measure Would Ban Gay Adoptions Proposal Draws Angry Response; If Passed, Lowry Veto Expected

Wed., Feb. 15, 1995

A proposal to ban homosexuals from adopting children drew a roomful of angry foes Tuesday, many of them gay couples with adopted kids.

They came to argue that they offer stable, loving homes to children, and to deny them the chance to adopt or to provide foster care would make no sense.

Backers of the measure, HB1171, were far fewer in number but no less ardent in their positions, quoting from the Bible and contending that homosexual families are unnatural and their children “wide open for problems.”

Gov. Mike Lowry dropped into the hearing briefly to shake hands with opponents, and a spokesman for his Department of Social and Health Services later testified against the measure as difficult to carry out because it would be hard to pin down a prospective parent’s sexual history or orientation.

“I have problems with the intent,” of the proposal, Lowry later told reporters. It is “discrimination against gay and lesbian people. I do not think that it is what the state stands for,” he said, all but saying he would veto it if it reached his desk.

The sponsor, Rep. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, left her seat on the Children and Family Services Committee to testify to the panel on behalf of her bill.

She and supporters, arguing that the best homes have a mother and father, said one way to ensure the fitness of parents is to make sure one is a man and one is a woman.

That drew restrained protest from Rep. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, a panel member and a single parent.

“Are you saying that single parents can’t adopt either?” she asked. Stevens said that ideally, adopting parents should be a man and a woman.

Stevens said the bill, a perennial at the Legislature, probably will pass the conservative Republican House, but its prospects were uncertain in the Democratic Senate. Lowry could be expected to veto it, she said.

Jim Galbraith, who identified himself as a “family man,” said homosexuality destroys nations and that a child of gay parents “is wide open for problems.”

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