Gays and lesbians are stepping up their national battle against restrictive state regulations, conservative Christians, and others to gain the same parenting rights as heterosexuals.

"There is no doubt that homosexuals love their children," says Suzanne Cook, a Christian who was raised in part by her divorced father living with his gay lover. "But it takes more than love to raise children in an appropriate and healthy way. We shouldn't be experimenting on another generation."

The Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta will decide this year whether to uphold a Florida law that says, "No person eligible to adopt … may adopt if that person is a homosexual." Also, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will rule on a legal challenge to the state's ban on "co-adoption" by a gay or lesbian couple. Only Florida, Mississippi, and Utah explicitly ban homosexuals from adoption.

Insider's view

Cook, a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, has an insider's perspective on homosexual parenting. Cook told CT that when she was seven years old her father left the family to pursue a homosexual relationship. Three years later, her parents divorced but shared custody. Cook and her younger brother spent every other weekend at the apartment of her father's partner. "They did not refrain from having sex when we were there," Cook says. "They didn't come out of the bedroom until noon."

Cook says her father's partner molested her brother for the next several years. "I had to deal with keeping my brother safe," Cook says. "I had to put on the role of a parent as a little kid. I felt the whole world on my shoulders." (Cook's father declined comment to CT.)

Confused about her sexuality as a young teenager, Cook supposed the only way to have a relationship with a man was to offer ...

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