Was Perry Right When He Said Gay Adoption Isn’t Allowed in Texas?

Governor Rick Perry’s comments about gay adoption Saturday also offered a glimpse at the way Twitter has become a fact-checking forum, and for some reporters, a place to start their first drafts. 
Mon November 21, 2011 11:30 pm
Ben Philpott | KUT News/Texas Tribune

Speaking about gay marriage at the Thanksgiving Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, Perry reiterated his support for a federal marriage amendment before adding, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and The Texas Tribune reported, “But until that does pass, as in the state of Texas, a gay couple can not adopt a child in the state of Texas.”

At the time Perry was speaking, both Philpott and Jason Embry of the Austin American-Statesman tweeted about the factual accuracy of Perry’s statement:

Embry followed up his tweet with two more that provided further details, including a link to the state’s adoption guidelines.

“State site says if a gay couple adopts, both can’t be listed as parents on supplemental birth cert.,” he tweeted.

Embry the set the record straight again in his story for the Statesman, while writing that Perry “bragged” about the nononexistent same-sex couple ban.

Meanwhile, Philpott, who had retweeted both of Embry’s tweets to expand on his own, called the governor’s answer “questionable” in his Tribune story.

He’s right when he says a gay couple can’t adopt. State law only allows a male and female couple to adopt. But nothing stops a single gay person, even if they have a partner, from adopting. A gay person can even be a foster parent in Texas.

Which is actually a subject that the governor knows something about: In 2005, when then-state Rep. Robert Talton sponsored an amendment to a bill reforming Child Protective Services that would have made Texas the only state to ban gay foster parents, Perry correctly predicted to the  Houston Chronicle editorial board that the provision would not fly, and that he did not want to see the larger bill get “bogged down.”

Wrote the Chronicle’s Clay Robison at the time:

Perry said that in an "ideal world" he would want foster children placed with "a family that had a mom and a dad."

But gay foster parents who are "loving and caring," he added, are "better than having the kids being abused, obviously."

In its official statement following the forum, Perry’s campaign didn't tackle the adoption question either way, choosing to stay focused on gay marriage and other issues. You can watch the entire Thanksgiving Family Forum (if you've got three hours) below:

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