Friday, March 30, 2007

Lesbian asks court to ban homosexual adoptions

Sara Wheeler's life has become a contradiction. Once a proud lesbian, she's now a pariah in the gay community. Once in a committed relationship with a female partner, she's rethinking her sexuality. And now she's doing something she once would have considered unthinkable - arguing that gays don't have the legal right to adopt children. Wheeler is coming to grips with the fact that she's become an outcast for taking this step in a custody fight for her child. But she says that isn't what her fight is about: "It's about motherly rights."

Wheeler, 36, and her partner, Missy, decided to start a family together and share the Wheeler last name. In 2000, Sara Wheeler gave birth to a son, Gavin, through artificial insemination. Two years later, they decided Missy Wheeler should adopt the child and legally become his second parent. Georgia law doesn't specifically say whether gay parents can adopt a child, so the decision was up to a judge in the Atlanta area's DeKalb County. After an adoption investigator determined that both partners wanted it, the judge cleared the request.

The couple's relationship later soured. Missy Wheeler wouldn't comment for this story, but her attorney, Nora Bushfield, said Sara became involved with someone else and wouldn't let Missy and Gavin see each other. Sara Wheeler acknowledged the other relationship, saying "regardless of my action, it doesn't make me a bad mother."

Sara and Missy Wheeler had split by July 2004, and Missy was fighting for joint custody of the boy. The two sides do agree about one thing: The case is about a mother's rights. "Everybody seems to forget we're not talking about lesbian rights," Missy Wheeler's attorney says. "We're talking about a child who's been bonded with a mother."

Sara Wheeler made the legal argument that, since nothing in Georgia law specifically allowed gay adoption, the adoption should be tossed out. Her first lawyers warned her the case could set gay rights back a century. She hired a new attorney and asked the DeKalb County court to toss the adoption that she had previously pushed for, claiming it should never have been approved because it runs afoul of state law.

News of the tactic whipped up Atlanta's gay community, one of the largest in the South. Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, made a legal filing with the Georgia Supreme Court supporting Missy Wheeler. "There's something about this case that's just tragic," said Greg Nevins, a lawyer for the group. Laura Douglas-Brown, editor of Southern Voice, the city's main gay newspaper, penned a column accusing Sara Wheeler of "self-hating." "We owe it to each other not to lash out in ways that damage the entire gay community," she wrote. "Your own family may be destroyed, but don't destroy ours, too."

Sara said she felt like she had no choice. "I'm not doing anything else a mother wouldn't do to fight for her son," she said. "Some people may think it's the unthinkable, but if they were put in my shoes, they'd do the same thing." It didn't go so well. Her lawsuit seeking to throw out the adoption was rejected by the DeKalb County judge and then the state Court of Appeals. Then the Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 vote in February, declined to hear the case. Only months earlier the court had upheld the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage, which Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004. Justice George H. Carley, who voted with the minority in the gay adoption case, declared he was "at a loss to comprehend" why the court refused to consider a case of such "great concern, gravity and public importance."

Sara Wheeler is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider her case. Such a request rarely succeeds, but the narrow vote gives her hope that one justice might be swayed. "There's nothing that states this is an acceptable adoption," she said. "If Georgia wants to allow it, it needs to make proper laws." As the legal motions flew back and forth, the two women established a workable routine. The 7-year-old boy goes to Missy Wheeler's place every other weekend and on Tuesday nights. The rest of the time Sara Wheeler ferries him to karate practice, plays tag with him outside her apartment and takes him out for pizza every Friday.

The case has taken a toll on Sara. Aside from a few gay friends, she has turned away from the gay community. She no longer dates, and doesn't go to gay clubs or events any more. She said she is rethinking whether she is still a lesbian or whether she should abandon dating for good. "I just don't feel comfortable in that scene," she says. "I'm just trying to figure it all out." She knows she's seen as a betrayer; but in a sense, she feels she was the one betrayed. "Before I'm anything - gay or lesbian - I'm a mother," she says. "And the most important thing is to make sure my son has a relationship with his biological mother."



Muslim GPs fail to respect the confidentiality of Muslim women patients, Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, has claimed. Ms Hewitt, who represents a constituency in Leicester with a large ethnic minority community, said: "I have had Muslim women give me chapter and verse on very distressing breaches of confidentiality by Muslim GPs. "Some women patients feel they cannot trust their own GP. If they talk to him about a very difficult situation concerning domestic violence or sexual health problems they fear that he will share that with other members of the community." Ms Hewitt had touched on the issue earlier in a speech to the Fabian Society but elaborated her concerns in an interview in Pulse.

A report published last year by the Muslim Women's Network lends some support to Ms Hewitt's charges. It said: "Women did not trust professionals from within their own communities to be always bound by professional rules of confidentiality." The report is based on conversations with Muslim women throughout the country.

But Asian GPs reacted strongly to Ms Hewitt's remarks. Dr Vijoy Singh, chair of Leicestershire and Rutland Local Medical Committee, which covers Ms Hewitt's constituency, said: "No GP would break confidentiality because if they break it, they are liable to be sued. She's out of touch." Prakash Chandra, Local Medical Committee chairman in Newham, which has many Muslim residents, told Pulse: "It surprises me that Patricia Hewitt would make such a statement. This is not a problem I have come across."

A spokeswoman for the General Medical Council (GMC), which investigates complaints against doctors, said: "The GMC is aware that some groups of patients may have added concerns about the confidentiality of their personal information." In the past year, she said, 11 doctors had been referred to a fitness to practise hearing for allegations involving the intentional disclosure of patient information. A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association (BMA) said: "Breaching confidentiality is extremely serious and any doctor who does must be prepared to justify their actions to the General Medical Council."

Jo Haynes, editor of Pulse, said: "These are serious accusations. You would hope Patricia Hewitt has some firm evidence to back up her decision to single out Muslim doctors in this way." Ms Hewitt said: "This is not a direct accusation against Muslim GPs - it is a call for sensitivity from all parts of the health service."

Haleh Afshar, professor of politics and women's studies at York University and chair-woman of the Muslim Women's Network, said she believed that Ms Hewitt had been commenting on issues raised in its own report. "We said that this is a concern that is shared by all women, but the difficulty for Muslim women is that sometimes they don't have the option of going to a GP outside their community." Dr Reefat Drabu, a GP in Southampton, said that she found the accusations offensive. "I'm a Muslim doctor" she said. "Confidentiality is paramount not just for the GP, but for the whole practice. To breach confidentiality in my practice is a sackable offence."


Rebranding the Enemy

Post lifted from American Thinker

The Left has developed no end of tricks to manipulate debates without the trouble of making a case or putting together an argument. Many of them have been in wide use for decades without ever being identified, much less counteracted. One example widely seen in recent weeks is a technique closely related to what the PR industry calls "rebranding": taking a group that is loathed for any number of good reasons - terrorists, criminals, druggies, what have you - and subtly reworking their image over time to present them instead as victims.

One group that benefited from this style of makeover was the American criminal class. During the 1950s, research carried out by criminologists and psychologists was misinterpreted by the liberal elite to mean that criminals were not responsible for their actions, that they had been coerced into violating the law by forces beyond their control, such as poverty, lack of education, mental disorders and so on. "It's not their fault, society is to blame", became the watchword of the day. Newspaper editorials, films, and television programs repeated the concept until, by the end of the decade, it had became the consensus view. It found policy expression through such programs as decriminalization of minor offenses, sentence reduction, probation rather than prison, and a general vilification of the police. In the end, it acted as a major driver of the great crime wave of the 60s, one of the worst disasters this country ever endured, and one still not widely understood.

The same technique has been utilized to reform the reputations of drug addicts, assorted sexual deviants, the Sandinistas, the Palestinians, and other enemies of civilization. As a rule of thumb, if the group is vulnerable to counteraction by the status quo, they become victims. If, on the other hand, they can stand on their own in open defiance, like Castro or the Viet Cong, they're treated as heroes.

Recent days have seen this process applied to the Jihadis. The first example involves Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Al Qaeda's infamous KSM. You don't have to believe the account contained in his confession claiming responsibility for every disaster since the Hindenburg to be aware that KSM is quite a vile piece of work, who at this moment is exactly where he ought to be. It's a little difficult imagining anyone thinking otherwise.

That is, if you hadn't considered Human Rights Watch. No sooner had KSM's hearing taken place than Kenneth Roth, the organization's executive director, questioned its legality and whether the confession was obtained by torture.
"We won't know that unless there is an independent hearing," he said. "We need to know if this purported confession would be enough to convict him at a fair trial or would it have to be suppressed as the fruit of torture?"
This was followed in short order by comments from senators Carl Levin and Lindsey Graham -- who were present at the hearing -- calling for an investigation into KSM's treatment at the hands of U.S. forces, thus falling in with the Al-Qaeda's rule 18: always claim you were tortured. Levin and Graham (who I thought was Republican) displayed considerable sympathy for KSM in their statement:
"...he views himself as a warrior, motivated by religious teachings, and seeks his place in history."
None of these exercises is complete without the participation of an academic, preferably a full professor. Anthony D'Amato of Northwestern University assured that we were not disappointed. In a short opinion piece D'Amato compared the KSM hearing to the Stalinist show trials of the 1930s, even though the proceeding was not a trial and was not open to public view.

D'Amato was particularly upset over the confession, which, like many, he found unlikely. But instead of attributing it to good tradecraft (KSM taking credit - if that's the word I'm groping for - for many attacks might conceivably take the heat off of vulnerable Jihadi networks), D'Amato compared it to the bizarre confessions of Stalin's victims. The problem with this interpretation is that with few exceptions (the Kirov assassination, for instance) most of the purge trial "conspiracies" never took place. I don't mean to batter D'Amato unduly - though he doesn't seem to know very much about the purges - but I hope he does believe that 9/11, the Khobar Towers, and the embassy attacks actually happened. One James Fetzer is enough.

KSM was not alone. Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam Hussein's vice-president who was hanged in Baghdad last week for complicity in crimes against the people of Iraq, underwent much the same treatment. It's difficult to imagine an individual better deserving of Ramadan's fate. But here we have the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Human Rights Watch (once again) declaring
"the evidence against him was insufficient for the death penalty."
The UN also wieghed in, with human rights chief Louise Arbour contending that the trial "failed to meet the standards of due process."

What's happening in these trials is unprecedented. They mark the first time that the victims, rather than a third party or international tribunal, have sat in judgment on their tormentors. If any similar proceeding deserves disdain, it's the Hague Tribunal, which spent years on the preliminaries of Sloboban Milosevic's trial before he finally died of a heart attack. In Iraq they know the virtue of keeping things humming. While the Iraqi effort may have its failings - as any pioneering attempt will - the regime trials will be studied for generations. And we can be sure that tyrants across the wide world are having sleepless nights every time the trap falls open in Baghdad.

A little closer to home, we find yet another aspect of the same routine. A high school in Colchester, Connecticut has, in the kind of role-playing game that delights modern educators, sent teenage girls walking around wearing burqas. They got precisely the kind of response - catcalls and insults - that you'd expect from a place packed with teenage boys. But the teachers and administration were no less than aghast:
"It's unacceptable," Superintendent Karen Loiselle said. "It's imperative students who are victims of those comments report them immediately and it will be taken very seriously. In this case, it has opened an important conversation."
These role-playing games, introduced in the 60s by a third-grade teacher named Jane Elliot,have never achieved anything apart from instigating the kind of behavior they were supposed to suppress. This exercise is no exception. But it's distinctly possible it wasn't meant to be. It happens that the entire affair was arranged by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Once that's understood, it begins to become clear why American girls were sent around wearing the major contemporary symbol for human degradation. It wasn't to "start a conversation", or to bridge gaps between ethnic groups. It was a con game to kick off a confrontation, in which Muslims - and not just any Muslims, but those of the most reactionary type - could be portrayed as victims. And the teachers and administrators of Colchester, as unworldly and ignorant as almost all such, fell right into it.

Is there anything involving Muslims that the media won't attempt to exploit? Well, now that you mention it... Between March 4 and 7 an event took place in St. Petersburg, Florida that may well rank as one of the most important of 2007. The Secular Islamic Summit was the first international gathering of moderate Muslims on record, featuring speakers Ibn Warraq,Irshad Manji, and Wafa Sultan, among many others, calling for an Islamic reformation based on principles of tolerance, separation of church and state, and individual rights. It's a brave effort, one deserving of all support - and one that went virtually unmentioned in the American media.

Similarly, in late March the moderate American Islamic Forum for Democracy offered to pay the legal costs of bystanders threatened with lawsuits by the imams taken off the airliner in Minneapolis last November. The imams have threatened to sue a number of passengers who may (or may not) have reported their activities. It's difficult to see this as anything other than intimidation, and unfortunately, it's the exact sort of thing many judges enjoy waxing Solomonic about. In that context, the Islamic Forum's offer comes as a breath of fresh air.

But how widely was it reported? Not at all. A single story in the Washington Times , and that was about it.

Because, of course, there are no victims involved. The legacy media, with its customary inability to adequately address issues of complexity, has come up with a working template: that Muslims are victims and common Americans, whether in government or out, are the victimizers. Nothing about Muslims as citizens, nothing about Muslims as compatriots, nothing about Muslims as allies need ever see print or airtime in their universe.

The danger of this should be obvious. The Jihadis are working night and day to strike at this country, and eventually they will succeed. When the blow falls, the entire newsprint facade of "Muslim as victim" will be blown to pieces, a collateral casualty of Jihadi efforts. The attempt to rebrand the likes of KSM and Ramadan will fall apart. Leaving what in its place?

Leaving absolutely nothing, certainly no image of Muslims as individuals worthy of respect. We may then see the backlash against Muslims that we've avoided for so long. As has happened all too often, the media will have been instrumental in creating the very situation it claimed to be trying to prevent.

It's all unnecessary. It is not, and has never been, the media's place to carry out psychological warfare campaigns against its own audience, no matter how lofty the purpose. Simply reporting the news is more than enough. And "news" includes events such as the Secular Islamic Summit and the admirable gesture of the American Islamic Forum. With the time that's left over, they can delve into the true nature of KSM and Ramadan, not to mention organizations like CAIR. And with that information on hand, Americans can probably be depended on to draw the proper conclusions on their own.


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


No comments: