A Wichita-area legislator wants a study done to see if Kansas should change its policy allowing gay people to adopt foster children.
"This is an issue that needs to be examined - things need to be spelled out better than they are," said Rep. Steve Huebert, a conservative Republican from Valley Center.
Huebert said he requested the study on behalf of a constituent who was concerned that a lesbian couple might be allowed to adopt her granddaughter, who was in foster care.
"My constituent had some issues with that," Huebert said.
Under Kansas law, homosexual adults are neither restricted nor prohibited from adopting children.
"Other states - Texas and Florida - have been more aggressive in making it tougher for gays and lesbians to adopt," Huebert said. "I just think it needs to be looked at. There ought to be some clearer guidelines."
Huebert said he discussed the study with a member of House Speaker Doug Mays' office during the final days of the Legislature's regular session. He said he was assured his request would be considered by the Legislative Coordinating Council, which meets Monday in Topeka.
On Tuesday, Huebert's proposal was not on the roster of topics under consideration. But there's nothing to stop it from being added to the list between now and Monday morning.
Huebert insisted his proposal was unrelated to the successful drive to amend the state constitution to include a ban on same-sex marriages.
"All I'm saying is that this is an issue that ought to be looked at in a thoughtful way," he said.
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Bruce Ney, chairman of Kansans for Fairness, a group formed to oppose the same-sex marriage amendment, blasted Huebert's request.
"This is all about discrimination and hating gays - that's all it is," said Ney, who lives in Lawrence. "It's conservatives looking for a 'gathering of dark clouds' they can get on the 2006 ballot to get people to turn out against (Gov. Kathleen) Sebelius."
Sandra Dixon, vice president of child welfare services at Kansas Children's Service League, said homosexuals interested in adopting were subject to the same criteria and scrutiny as heterosexuals.
"Decisions are based on an individual's or a couple's strengths and the capacity to parent children in need of an adoptive home," Dixon said. "We don't have anything that says a particular demographic group - except those who've been convicted of crimes - cannot adopt."
It's unclear how many adoptions involve gay or lesbian parents, Dixon said.
"That's not something we track," she said.
Until last month, Kansas Children's Service League was the state's sole contractor for adoption services for children in foster care. It completed a record 627 adoptions last year.
State records show that roughly two-thirds of the state's adoptions in 2004 involved children in foster care. The remainder were handled by private lawyers and often involved babies born to teenage mothers.
Contacted earlier this week, two of the Legislative Coordinating Council's seven members said Huebert's concerns haven't found their way onto many legislators' radar.
"This isn't an issue that has much momentum that I can tell," said Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence. "It's not something I've thought about."
"I wasn't aware that it was a problem," said House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg.
A spokeswoman for Sebelius said the governor, too, was unaware of a need to limit the ability of gays and lesbians to adopt.
"This administration is committed to doing all we can to place children in loving, caring homes," Nicole Corcoran said. "Rep. Huebert's request is not something we've looked into."