Homosexual Adoption Ban Defeated in House

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNS) - The House of Representatives has voted down an amendment banning homosexual adoption in the District of Columbia but agreed to prohibit a federal needle exchange program and make illegal the availability of medical marijuana.

The three amendments were attached to an appropriations bill to fund the District of Columbia.

Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) introduced the amendment to the DC Appropriations bill prohibiting joint adoptions by any two people who aren't related by blood or marriage. Such a provision would ban adoptions by gay couples or heterosexual unmarried partners, Largent spokesman Brad Keena told CNSNews.com.

The amendment was approved by a voice vote, but Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) requested a recorded vote on the provision before the entire DC appropriations bill is voted upon. When the recorded vote was taken, Largent's adoption amendment failed by 213 to 215.

During floor debate Democrats accused Largent's provision as being one of a series of "micromanaging" proposals seeking restrictions on how federal taxpayer dollars are spent on social programs found questionable by conservatives.

The amendments were opposed by Democrats on the grounds that Congress has no authority to direct how local funds are spent in Washington, DC. Keena told CNSNews.com it is Congress' constitutionally mandated duty to oversee the District's operations.

Like many states, Washington, DC draws on resources provided by local income and property taxes with additional funding provided by taxpayers across the country.

While federal funds may not be used to fund specified programs, conservatives contend that injecting more money into District accounts allows local officials to free-up other appropriations for programs which Largent and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) find objectionable.

Approved by the House was Tiahrt's amendment, which passed by 241 to 187, which bans federal funding of needle exchanges in the District. Proponents of a needle exchange program claim that allowing drug addicts to exchange used needles for clean ones will reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Also on the table with the appropriations bill for DC was an amendment offered by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) offered an amendment "to prohibit the use of any funding to legalize or reduce the penalty for the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act." AIDS activists contend that the availability of "medical marijuana" is essential to allowing terminally ill patients to alleviate pain and suffering. Barr's provision was adopted by a voice vote.

The DC appropriations bill passed by a vote of 333 to 92. Should the amendments seeking restrictions on social issues pass through the Senate version, the provisions will be in force for only one year. By law, additional provisions in an appropriations bill cannot extend beyond the time allotted for the appropriations.