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Even grandparents aren’t safe from latest gender ideologue attacks on family

OpinionEven grandparents aren’t safe from latest gender ideologue attacks on family

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While more than two and a half million children in America are being raised by a grandparent, the Biden administration and state courts are increasingly putting gender ideology ahead of stability for these families. 

On the same day the administration announced new support for kinship care, it also proposed rules requiring foster and adoptive parents to “affirm” children who identify as LGBT+, use the child’s “identified pronouns” and allow the child to dress “in a manner that the child believes reflects their self-identified gender identity and expression.” 

And some states already impose “gender-affirming” training and require prospective foster care and adoptive parents to give certain “assurances” in order to care for any child in state custody. Grandparents and other relatives are not spared from these dictates.  

Child looks at photo album with an adult

The Biden administration and state courts are increasingly putting gender ideology ahead of family stability. (iStock)

Just ask Scott and Colleen Freeman, a Christian couple from Washington state who have been raising their 2-year-old grandson for the past year. 

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The Freemans’ youngest daughter has struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse for years. During one of her stays in a rehabilitation facility in Seattle she became pregnant with twins. “We had no idea that this was going to happen. We talked to her about having the babies instead of getting rid of them, and she agreed,” says Scott.  

The children were born extremely prematurely, and one of the twins died 13 days after birth. When their daughter relapsed into drug use, the Freemans realized that “there was nothing we would not do for her.” That’s when, according to Scott, “our parenting instincts took over and it was all about the grandson at this point.”

The Freemans have taken care of their grandson for over a year now and want to begin the process of adopting him. However, “dealing with the state has been so confusing to us,” reflects Scott. “We went into this thinking that, hey, we’re the grandparents. This should be pretty much of a slam dunk. We’re family. He’s been living with us for nearly a year. We’re stable people. We have a house. We do everything for him. We thought this was going to be a quick process.”  

But things have not been even close to a “slam dunk” for the Freemans. Washington state requires Scott and Colleen to take a series of online courses to become eligible to adopt their grandson. They duly completed the required courses – but then found themselves confronted by ideology. 

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Scott explains that they were asked “if our grandson wanted to wear a red dress to school, would we support that?” A red dress? “That’s not going to happen,” said Scott. “We’re Christians. We don’t believe in that stuff. We can’t take the test and lie about it.”

“I have a fear that they’re going to go to daycare and just pick him up or something,” says Colleen. 

 Scott and Colleen, joined with two other foster and adoptive parents to file a brief and share their stories with a federal appeals court hearing a case from the state of Oregon, which also demands that prospective adoptive parents commit to bizarre parenting decisions. 

Their brief in support of Jessica Bates, a Christian widow and mother of five who was denied the chance to adopt because she refuses to let Oregon inject gender ideology into her parenting, highlights the long reach these dangerous provisions could have in undermining families.  

During state-directed training as part of the process to adopt, Jessica was told that she must agree to use a child’s “preferred pronouns,” take them to gay pride parades, and allow them to undergo dangerous pharmaceutical interventions involving puberty blockers and hormone shots. In addition to Jessica’s concerns about this sinister agenda, it also conflicted with her Christian faith. 

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A state employee told her she was ineligible to adopt because of her “objections to affirming a child’s transgender identity.” Oregon’s official denial letter similarly cited Jessica’s failure to agree to “support [a child’s] lifestyle or encourage any behavior related to their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”  

Jessica filed suit in federal court, claiming that Oregon’s policy violates the constitutional guarantee of free speech, free association and the free exercise of religion. A lower court denied her request for preliminary relief and her appeal is now before the Ninth Circuit. 

A three-judge panel is currently reviewing briefs, including the amicus brief filed on behalf of the Freemans. The panel will hold oral argument in the coming months and then issue its opinion.  

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So much hangs on this decision. A victory for Jessica could insulate child welfare rules from ideology and restore our constitutional order. The idea that you can’t foster needy children unless you deny traditional religious beliefs about the nature of human sexuality is repugnant.  

In a sane world, this shouldn’t need pointing out; but gender ideology is a form of madness, and so we need to shout it from the rooftops.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM ANDREA PICCIOTTI-BAYER

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