Creep Of The Week: John J. DeBerry, Jr.

By D'Anne Witkowski

<HEADER Creep of the Week>

You know who had a great life? Little Orphan Annie. Hanging out with her friends, chasing down stray mutts, singing and dancing all day long without a care in the world.

You know who ruined her life? Daddy Warbucks. Mr. Do-Gooder stable parent had to go and give her a comfortable and safe home life. I can't even watch the movie, let alone see the damn thing on Broadway, the whole story just makes me so mad.

Well, I have a feeling that Tennessee Rep. John J. DeBerry, Jr. (D-Memphis) feels the same way. But instead of bitching about it in a column in some gay paper, Mr. DeBerry is using his political power to do something about it.

DeBerry has introduced a bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives that would ban unmarried folks from adopting kids. His partner in crime, Sen. Paul Stanley (R-Memphis), introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

The bill "Prohibits any individual who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state from adopting a minor."

Take that, Daddy Warbucks. That'll teach you to fall for your secretary.

It's a fact that children love living in orphanages and foster homes. Being a ward of the state is good times. The luckiest ones never get adopted and manage to "age out" of the system, meaning they never have the burden of a stable family. That's right. No mom or dad to complain about. Think of all the money that will save them on therapy - that is, if they had money for therapy in the first place.

"Remember that children in foster care don't typically have a line of people going around the block waiting to adopt them," Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, told The Tennessean.

By proposing a bill to ban unmarried folks from adopting children, DeBerry is helping to shrink an already small pool of potential adoptive parents. And that's good for children.

Pertman asked, "So would it be better for these children to wait for your personal notion of the ideal family to come along or to put children who need homes into the homes of loving, responsible, stable adults who are willing to parent?"

Yes, of course it would. DeBerry isn't a trained child welfare professional or anything. But surely he has a good reason for introducing this bill.

According to The Tennessean, "DeBerry said there were aspects of his reasons for sponsoring the bill that he was unwilling to discuss with a reporter. DeBerry was also unwilling to say what sort of family structure he believes is best for children."

"If a member of the public would like to know my reasons, they can contact me, come into my office," he said. "We will shut the door, and I would be happy to share my reasons."

See? His reasons are so good he can't even say what they are. Because they are the ideas that dare not speak their name.

Currently there are over 7,000 children in state custody in Tennessee. I certainly hope that DeBerry is clearing his calendar, because that's a lot of closed-door meetings.

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