Yes, John McCain really would leave a kid in an orphanage if the alternative is adoption by a gay couple. Feh.

Let John McCain speak for himself. Any comment would be superfluous:

Q: President Bush believes that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt children. Do you agree with that?

Mr. McCain: I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no I don’t believe in gay adoption.

Q: Even if the alternative is the kid staying in an orphanage, or not having parents.

Mr. McCain: I encourage adoption and I encourage the opportunities for people to adopt children I encourage the process being less complicated so they can adopt as quickly as possible. And Cindy and I are proud of being adoptive parents.

Footnote: Remember how the neocons used to rant about the resistance among some African-Americans to the adoption of black kids by white families, and how horrible it was to prefer ideology to the welfare of actual children? I guess it all depends on whose ox is gored.

Second footnote The interview is a disgusting collection of softballs, including one string where the reporters are practically begging McCain to criticize the press for being biased toward Obama. Not a hint of a question about why McCain’s budget proposals don’t add, or any follow-up on the birth control question that had him so flummoxed yesterday, nothing about all his flip-flops. Somehow I doubt Obama will get comparable treatment when it’s his turn.

Update An email from a reader and a post from Volokh Conspirator Dale Carpenter (h/t Andrew Sullivan) inform me of something that I didn’t know, and which makes McCain’s comment that much more reprehensible.

I had assumed that only married couples were allowed to adopt. Not so. Apparently most jurisdictions allow single people to adopt (which as a policy decision seems sound to me). So, as Carpenter says, McCain’s position is that one parent is better than two unless the two are of opposite sexes. Could there be a more gross insult to millions of our fellow-citizens?

Now as a practical matter, in tolerant jurisdictions, this might reduce the damage done by the underlying rule, since one or the other member of a same-sex couple might be able to adopt (depending on whether the private and public bureaucrats involved, and the courts, treat homosexuality as a disqualifying “character” objection). Of course, that would still leave the child with only one legally-recognized adoptive parent rather than two.

The good news is that 49 of 50 states do allow adoptions by single gay individuals; the exception is Florida. The bad news is that half of the states have adopted McCain’s heartless rule, allowing adoptions by single individuals but not by same-sex couples.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com