Gay adoption not top priority

? The chairwoman of a committee charged by legislative leaders to review gay adoption said she was in no hurry to do so.

“At this point, I’m not planning any public hearings,” Rep. Willa DeCastro, R-Wichita, and chairwoman of the House-Senate Committee on Children’s Issues, said this week.

DeCastro said her committee had enough work to do reviewing a broad range of issues affecting children before the January start of the 2006 legislative session.

DeCastro said state policies that permit gay people to adopt foster children may be discussed during a broader review of adoption.

“Do we even have a problem? In the general overview, can we figure that out?” she asked.

House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, said legislative leaders didn’t want to micromanage committees but added that DeCastro’s plan at this point may not fulfill what he and others had in mind.

“I’m not sure that is going to satisfy some of our members, and it won’t put the subject to rest,” Mays said.

He said a briefing on the subject before the committee was “a start. I would hope it would be a thorough briefing.”

Mays said he doesn’t know whether he opposes or supports allowing gays to adopt.

“I don’t know enough about the subject,” he said.

Under Kansas law, homosexual adults are neither restricted nor prohibited from adopting children. However, because gay couples cannot be legally married or have legal recognition of their relationship, only one of the partners is technically the adoptive parent.

Last month, legislative leaders approved a review of “existing policies and procedures for eligible individuals to adopt children.”

The study will “make sure that the best interests of the child are protected when establishing the criteria of who may adopt a child.”

While the wording of the study was broad, the subject was requested by Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center. He said he requested it on behalf of a constituent who was concerned that a lesbian couple might be allowed to adopt her granddaughter, who was in foster care.