The cost of flip-flop: McCain on gay adoption

Having outraged everyone with humane instincts by saying that he’d leave kids in orphanages rather than let gays adopt, McCain has now outraged the Christian Right by halfway taking it back.

John McCain, having pandered to the homophobe vote by saying that he’d rather leave a kid in an orphanage than have a gay couple adopt the kid, then backed off when the gay-rights folks and the adoption advocates growled at him. (How’s he going to stand up to Putin and Ahmadinejad if he can’t stand up to the Log Cabin Republicans and a bunch of social workers?)

Now McCain is getting hammered for that by some of the haters on the Christian Right. They seem to have discovered a new version of the Gospels in which Luke 18:16 reads “Allow the little children to suffer as much as possible.”

As to McCain, his new position is somewhere in the middle: he’d prefer adoption by straights, but he wouldn’t forbid gay adoption if the alternative were an orphanage, but it’s really a state issue and the feds shouldn’t have a position on it. (Of course, there are federal aspects to the problem: can a kid have two fathers or mothers for purposes of, e.g., collecting survivors’ benefit under Social Security?) The definitive word on that sort of muddle was spoken by the author of Revelation (3:15-16), quoting (he says) his vision of the risen Christ, in denouncing the church at Laodicea:

You are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.

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: