A Bad, Bad Man

Since I'm on vacation, my most strenuous thinking probably should be something like, "Didn't I wear this shirt once already this week?" I do have one vexing little nugget that's been rumbling around in my brain, though. Last week, my middle sister forwarded to me an email from an ex-neighbor of hers. The neighbor was attempting to persuade my sister of all the reasons why the arrest of Frank Lombard proves the point that gays should not be permitted to adopt children.

Frank Lombard, a gay Duke University official, apparently had sex with his young son (who was adopted at birth) and then hopped on the Internet and invited others to come over and violate his son as well. Fortunately, he was caught as a result of an undercover sting operation.

The crimes allegedly committed by Lombard gave some ultra-conservative folks exactly the opening they'd been hoping for. "See?" they've been exclaiming with fists pumping into the air. "We told you!"

I have gay friends who have children (both adopted and biological). Do you want to know what same-sex parents do with their kids? Come closer, because I don't want this getting out. Ready? Okay, here goes. They take them to the park. They yell at them for not making their beds. They make dinner every night - well, except for the nights they cheat and order pizza. They help their children with homework. Sometimes, they let their offspring go to bed without brushing their teeth first.

In short, gay parents are just as dull as the rest of us.

The truth is that the vast majority of pedophiles are decidedly heterosexual. My friend J referred to Frank Lombard as a "statistical anomaly" and really, there's no better way to put it. Lombard is a reprehensible human being and that fact that he is gay doesn't make him any more or less vile. It's clear that he should never have been permitted to adopt a child. However, if he had no criminal history and passed all the other tests, I doubt the agency or social worker who placed a child with him had any way to know that underneath the fancy job title and social standing lay one demented piece of dung. Thank goodness he was stupid/cocky enough to get online and brag about the abuse, because now (with a little luck and a little faith in the justice system), he will have plenty of time to think about it in prison (where even the most hardened criminals are known to despise pedophiles).

I hate to think of all the couples out there who, thanks to the publicity surrounding the Lombard case, may never have the opportunity to become parents now. Birthparents wishing to place their baby for adoption may think twice about choosing a same-sex couple. I think back to a friend of my parents when I was growing up. Ron was gay and desperately wanted to be a dad. This was in the mid-80s, though, and back then he was as likely to sprout wings as to become a dad. He was always so nice to my sisters and me, and once bought us a gumball machine that sat on a pedestal. I don't know if my parents were all that thrilled about it (I don't recall that we had dental insurance consistently), but my sisters and I thought it was the best present ever.