A Missouri judge ruled this week that a man would make an unfit father due to his weight. Gary Stocklaufer, a 500-pound trucker, was denied the right to adopt his cousin's infant son whom he and his wife had been fostering. The infant's court-appointed guardian said that there was concern that Stocklaufer would develop diabetes or sleep apnea due to his weight, Kansas City television stations KMBC and WDAF reported.
The concern about Stocklaufer's health and the subsequent health of the child after being placed in his home has echoes of the arguments used against gay adoption. Critics of adoption by homosexual couples have claimed that such homes are unstable and do not provide good role models.
But organizations that oppose adoption by homosexuals disagree on whether to similarly oppose adoption by the obese.
"You're dealing with a situation in which the state has the obligation, because the natural family has failed in some way, to make a determination as to the best interest of the child. And in that case, I think it's legitimate to take heath concerns such as this into consideration," said Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council. "For a person who weighs 500 pounds, there would be question about their mobility to be able to carry out some of the tasks involved in ordinary parenting, and there would be questions about their health and potential longevity, because of that."
However, Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, believes emotional health risks should be considered before physical risks.
"You have to look at the totality of the circumstances. There are any number of factors that can put children in an environment where there are risks; there are always going to be risks," Barber said. "I think it's appropriate to consider the lifestyle that homosexuals engage in with all of the high-risk factors involved when you also take into consideration the fact that there is not a solid family environment with a mother and a father. Having the unique qualities that both a mother and a father bring and bear on childrearing, that is definitely the gold standard. To nitpick and to disqualify someone based on their weight or something like that, I don't know that that's appropriate."
Stocklaufer adopted another son seven years ago when he weighed about the same he does now. That adoption was approved by the same judge who ruled against him this week. Stocklaufer and his wife said they plan to appeal the judge's decision.
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Earlier this year, Christianity Today covered the new U.K. sexual orientation regulations on adoption. Several other articles on family and same-sex marriage are available on our site.
Google News provides several links to the Stocklaufer case.