By Steven Tavares
@eastbaycitizen on twitter

Rep. Pete Stark thinks the reintroduction of legislation withholding federal funding to states with laws discriminating against adoption and foster care by gay, lesbian and single people has congressional support despite the presence of social conservatives in the House of Representatives.

A similar version to H.R. 1681 languished in the House last year. In the meantime, numerous bills forwarded in various state houses across the country have raised the awareness of the issue. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recently signed a bill positioning the adoption of children by opposite-sex couples above those of same-sex partners. An Arkansas law was struck down April 7 by the state’s Supreme Court. Conservative lawmakers in Illinois and Virginia have also made overtures to limiting the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt.

“There is no information out there saying [children with gay and lesbian parents] are any more or less troubled than any other children,” Stark said Tuesday during introduction of the bill, sponsored by 33 congressmen.

Stark also believes a companion bill in the U.S. Senate will be offered by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sometime in June. The previous incarnation of “Every Child Deserves A Family” last year did not have a complimentary bill in the upper chamber of Congress.

The East Bay representative said the $7 billion expenditures for foster care is “flawed” and does not serve all children and discriminates against capable and loving parents. “It’s time for a federal fix to this critical child welfare and civil rights issue,” he said. “Every child deserves the lifelong benefits that come from growing up in a stable home.”

When a reporter asked about recent comments made by Rick Santorum, a former conservative representative from Pennsylvania, saying the right to adopt is a privilege gay people do not deserve, Stark said, “Rick who? There used to be a congressman here named Santorum and he lost.” He added, “that’s nonsense.”

Stark said he hopes the Obama administration will take up the bill’s cause, but lightly criticized the president’s sometimes ambivalence in the past toward gay rights issues.