Melissa Etheridge couldn’t adopt her own kids because she is gay

As election day draws near, many in California are preparing for the chance to vote on Proposition 8 – a ballot question that, if passed, will reverse the Supreme Court decision in the state allowing gays the right to marry. California resident and lesbian, rocker Melissa Etheridge, blogged about her experiences being discriminated against when she attempted to legally adopt the children she parented with her ex-partner, Julie Cypher. Julie was artificially inseminated and gave birth to two children while in a relationship with Etheridge. When Melissa wanted to adopt the kids and put them on her health insurance, she was denied.

I remembered being a new mom in 1997. I followed the long trail of red tape to find a way to adopt my children so they could be covered by health insurance, or so I could see them in the hospital in case of some emergency, along with dozens of other reasons. I was fortunate enough to have the financial resources to find a lawyer that would help me through the heart breaking adoption system. The social worker would come to my house, numerous times, evaluate me, have me fill out all of the forms and then regretfully deny me my right to adopt my children because California law prohibited social workers from adoption approval of same sex couples. Then my lawyer would take my case to a judge that would read the social worker’s words “regretfully deny” and then the judge would say, “overruled, “allowing me to adopt my children within the legal system. I give thanks to these great people who truly believe in equal rights and risked so much for so many families.
There were the dark times, when proposition 22 was put on the ballot in 2000. It was a strange act, more like a true or false question: ”Marriage in the state of California is defined as being between a man and a woman.” Okay…? It passed.

Etheridge also talks about the joy she experienced when she was finally granted the right to marry in 2003.

Then I remembered my own wedding in 2003. I had found my true love, Tammy. It was a magical ceremony that started with my children walking with me down the aisle to meet my bride as the two aisles merged into one. I wanted to stand in front of my community of family and friends and declare my promise to be committed to my partner, now my wife, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, something that would be tested with my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment later that next year. The day before the wedding Grey Davis gave same sex couples domestic partnership rights, one of his last moments as governor and we proudly hung our certificates on our wall. They were limited rights, but doggone it, it was a beginning.

…Now, I know my preference of life mate freaks some people out. Maybe it is just their fear of sex or intimacy. I know that they hold up the bible and say that it’s wrong. Fine, let me stand before my creator and take any consequences there might be to living my life in truth and balance with my spirit.
I believe in our democracy. I believe in our constitution. I believe we live in the greatest country in the world. I believe that we are as strong as our weakest link and if we deny any of our citizens the right to “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” then we deny it to all of us.

[From The Daily Beast]

If someone with the money and resources Melissa has faces this kind of discrimination, it really makes you wonder how difficult it must be for the average gay man or woman to be recognized as a parent or guardian of their own children, to visit their partner in the hospital, and so on. Why someone would want to deny other people these rights based on their sexual preference just doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that this clearly hateful proposition gets voted down next week.

Melissa Etheridge is shown at a breast cancer benefit at the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles. Photo credit: WENN.

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16 Responses to “Melissa Etheridge couldn’t adopt her own kids because she is gay”

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  1. daisy424 says:

    I fail to see the argument that sexual preference has anything to do with someone’s ability to provide a loving home for a child. It’s ridiculous.

  2. Amy says:

    Voting against gay adoption and gay marriage is just blatant bigotry. Who thinks this way in the 21st century?

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Ugh… as soon as I read this my heart dropped down into my stomach. In Florida they have Prop 2, which is eerily similar to prop 8. It’s like we’re in the 1950’s all over again.

  4. Rougelatete says:

    This had me crying. Seriously. Melissa has a way with words that I didn’t realize until now. The thought of her possibly not being able to visit her own children in the hospital broke my heart.

  5. dude wtf says:

    It breaks my heart to think that this is suppose to be a “free” country yet the govt’is deciding whether you can get married & have children. My lesbian cousin would make a much better mother than myself but legally she can not adopt or get married. 😥

  6. rbsesq says:

    Incredibly eloquent. This country is built on the proposition that religion should not influence government in any way, so why is it that the government still denies a same sex couple the right to marry. There’s no legal reason. It’s based solely on the religious belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Marriage should be between two people who love each other and want to make that commitment to each other, regardless of their gender. Ms. Etheridge was correct, this country was founded upon principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let people find happiness where they may.

  7. Cinderella says:

    Melissa is a class act, and I’m glad she found the happiness she deserves.

  8. Syko says:

    @Elizabeth – the Proposition 2 in Florida is amazingly stupid because one man/one woman is already the law here, and they just want to amend the constitution to say it too. I voted against it, of course, but I’m afraid that here in the southern edge of the Bible Belt, that it will pass.

  9. cara says:

    What I don’t get is, why there are these restrictions (i.e. hospital, ect) in the first place. I mean, I have nothing against gays or anyone for that matter, but someone like me, who has sworn off sex, what if I were to find a friend,A best friend) totally non sexual, man or woman, why shouldn’t I be able to have the say in who get’s to see me in the hospital, ect. Or maybe a living will covers that.

    I don’t know. And as for the adoption thing, it’s funny because those same anti abortion people are the ones blocking gay people from adopting. A child needs a home, regardless. (in Fla, gays can foster but not adopt…good ones guys!) Humans, we are all so retarded and are sure hung up on too much bulls**t!

  10. Gracie says:

    @rbsesq – please tell me that you aren’t American! This country was built on the proposition that GOVERNMENT should not influence RELIGION in any way.

    You have it exactly backwards!

    Re-read the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights (1st 20 Amendments) is list of restrictions on the government. We’re talking basic American / European history here.

    The notion of ‘separation of Church and State’ was brought up first in a letter of Thomas Jefferson. It was not discussed in terms of the founding documents whatsoever.

    This is not a case of religion dictating what should happen, but rather the opinions of people who may or may not be influenced by their religious outlook.

    Opinions are one thing, but facts are not relative.

  11. jess says:

    i just never understood the argument that it is “wrong” for children to grow up in a gay household. does single parent-dom really offer so much more than 2 people who love each other?

  12. tigerlille says:

    And people wonder why U.S. families adopt internationally.

  13. Ter says:

    You may be forgetting that we did indeed vote on this before, the people spoke, and then it was shopped to the court to have the decision of the voters overturned. I don’t like bigotry, but I also don’t like the fact that a “shopped” court can dismiss thousands (called a majority) of voters without so much as a fare thee well. Again, it becomes the will and political influence (and money) of the minority trumps the decision of the majority. It’s an awfully slippery slope. I’m interested to see how this turns out. Ain’t politics grand?

  14. Kristin says:

    I have been working on the No on Prop 8 Campaign for weeks now, and I have (just this past summer) heard one of Melissa Ehtridges’ songs and I loved it. I am just hoping more people vote No. Equality for all.

  15. Cari says:

    My partner of 10 years and I have been battling the discriminatory adoption laws in Alabama for 2 1/2 years now. Our son was born with a hole in his heart and underwent open-heart surgery at 3 months old. During the process, I was denied medical training in his care because I was not “the legal parent” and then later told by a judge that only married couples could adopt in Alabama. In September of this year we won a California wedding through the San Diego Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and on September 23 we were legally married in California. It was the most incredible feeling to stand before God, the universe and the state and declare our love and commitment to each other. When are people going to realize that same-sex marriage is not hurting anyone but instead protecting and recognizing our families.

    “Love Conquers All”

  16. kidneys says:

    You can certainly see your skills in the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.