Happy Endings when we Challenge Bias

16 Nov

An update on the story about the lesbian couple in Utah who were to have their foster child taken away because they are gay:

The ruling has been rescinded.

I’m happy that public pressure and criticism caused a change of ruling.
The judge crossed out “belief” that children in same-sex (same gender) couples are at some sort of risk and replaced it with “concern”. His concern. Not based on research. Does the word make a difference? Yes. Does he still get to share his biased and homophobic beliefs? Yes.

One other thing stands out for me in the CNN report I read:

“It is unconscionable that any judge would let bias interfere with determining the true best interest of a child and we strongly encourage the commission to take appropriate action to hold this judge accountable and to affirm that personal bias has no place in judicial decisions in Utah.” You can read more here.

I have to laugh – in an ironic way.
While there are thousands of children who “age out” of the child welfare system, same-gender couples are not permitted to adopt in many US states, and countries around the world, and there are a disproportionate number of Black and Aboriginal kids in the child welfare system (I could go on). How can we believe that bias isn’t interfering in determining a child’s best interests? Why are we just holding this judge accountable?

Here’s another thing that stands out for me:

“Callan said the change suggests that the judge was worried about his order “being viewed as an application of religious belief rather than an application of the law.”” (Complete article here)

Religious views aside, this is homophobia. Plain and simple. You don’t have to be religious to be homophobic. And we have to name things appropriately so we can stand up against them. Homophobia manifests itself in many ways – physical violence, exclusion, emotional and verbal abuse, micro-inequities, and in biased decisions, policies, and procedures that devalue the lives of LGBTQ people, and cause pain.

Bias inserts itself into law, media, policy, structures and systems in innocuous ways – ways that we often don’t notice unless (or until) they impact us (or someone we care about).  The difference is that this judge’s bias was blatant, and it was caught and challenged.

I’m happy for this couple.
And I encourage us all to consider the many other couples that are quietly facing and enduring discrimination.
Who will be their voice?

See more.

Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Author and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion

Radio Show Host – Creating Families


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