US congressman suggests children are better off in orphanages than with gay parents
A US congressman has come under fire after a recording emerged where he can be heard telling high school students that orphanages could be better for children than being raised by gay parents.
The Republican congressman, Chris Smith, who is from New Jersey, became tongue-tied when he was addressing students at Colts Neck High School in May when a student asked him about gay adoption.
A student called Hannah Valdes can be heard speaking at the beginning of the tape, where she tells Smith that she has a gay sister who wants to adopt a child with her partner in the future.
She asked the congressman if he thought her sister would be “less of a legitimate parent” than a straight person, according to the Washington Blade, who acquired the tape.
First, he can be heard telling the student that her sister is “free to adopt”, however went on to say that there are “many others who would like to adopt who can acquire a child” and “the waiting periods are extremely long.”
Another student then interjected and asked what makes other parents more suited to having children than her fellow student’s sister.
Smith became tongue tied as he tried to respond, and said: “In my opinion a child needs every possibility of…” before trailing off. He then praised orphanages, saying: “Somebody mentioned orphanages before. I mean, orphanages are still a possibility for some kids.”
A student can be then heard responding: “You’d rather have kids in an orphanage than with –”.
Valdes spoke to the Washington Blade about the experience, and said that there was more to the story than what can be heard on the tape.
Smith was allegedly asked earlier in the assembly about a vote he made in 1999 in favour of an amendment that would have banned adoption by gay parents in D.C.
He was asked if he would vote the same today, and he allegedly confirmed that his position hadn’t changed.
Valdes told the Blade that Smith said gay households were not healthy environments for children to grow up in.
She added that he said he held this belief because of “numerous household studies” which show that children who have straight parents fare better than kids with same-sex parents.
Various studies have concluded that children of same-sex parents fare just as well as children of opposite-sex parents.
Valdes added that the auditorium was filled with tension after the incident, and that the students present wanted to press him on his views. When he was pressed for further answers, the assembly was ended and the students were sent back to class.
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Valdes added that their school is an accepting place, noting that they have an LGBT+ club, and said that “prejudice in our hallways is not tolerated.”
The news comes as a student who was attending the Clarks Summit University – a Christian college – was told he was not allowed to re-enroll because he is gay.
Gary Campbell said he wanted to return to his college to complete his studies, which he had begun 17 years earlier.
He was initially told he was just two classes away from graduating, however he was later informed that he would not be re-admitted because of his sexuality.
He said that the college knew he was gay when he first enrolled in 2001, but at the time he was treated as “a Christian ‘struggling with the sin of homosexuality.’”