Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Letter to: Tenn Rep Debra Maggart

As a resident of Tennessee, I couldn't neglect responding to a statement made by one of our representatives as reported by Jim Johnson at his Straight not Narrow blog. Towit:

Rep. Debra Maggart,

This statement purported to be yours in an e-mail to Sara Dykstra is flying around the Internet:

“I am not convinced that just because our foster children desperately need loving homes that we should just place them in homes that are available when research also shows that most homosexual couples have numerous emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues that may not be healthy for children.”

As a fellow Tennessean, I'm embarrassed by the uproar this misinformed statement about gays is making around the blogs and Internet news sites. True, studies from decades ago found that gay teens had more problems than other teens, but knowing how vulnerable teens are and the social stigma gay youngsters had to face then, this should not be surprising. To over generalize these outdated studies as if they apply to all gays today, which they don't, and then turn around and apply these teen results to gay couples in their thirties, who are settled in and well adjusted by the time they arrive at the adoption agency, is a total misunderstanding of the available research which finds that gays make equally good parents and are especially well qualified to handle hard to place children. After all, they know what it means to be different.

The just released report (March, 2006) by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is a must read for anyone on your committee. They recommend that lesbians and gays be actively recruited to become adoptive parents, not turned away due to the prejudices and ignorance of some.

A friend of mine who also served as a pilot in the Air Force during the Vietnam era is gay. Obviously, there were no "emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues" that kept him from serving when his country called. He deserves to be respected for his service, not treated like a pariah right here at home.

There are no "emotional dysfunctions and psychological issues" that would keep gays from being good parents either. Can we tell gays they are "fit" to risk their lives for our country, but not "fit" to parent a child? Surely they deserve the respect of the State of Tennessee and our thanks for their willingness to take on the awesome responsibility of becoming an adoptive parent. Please review your position regarding gay adoption and consider treating gays with the same respect every Tennessean deserves.

William J. Ware

Update The Nashville newspaper The Tennessean has an article about the brouhaha.
BTW Rep Maggart's e-mail address is: rep.debra.young.maggart@legislature.state.tn.us


At 3/30/2006 12:42 AM, Blogger Robert Bayn said...

Great email, it's sad to see people saying things like this, and say it's factual, when it is not.

At 3/30/2006 1:04 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Thanks Robert,

I have a post on the Donaldson Adoption Institute report here.

At 3/30/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Excellent email! Thank you for taking this directly to the source. I hope she will respond in a reasonable manner.

At 3/30/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Thanks Kathy,

I hope she responds, but usually legislators only do if the person is in their district. She might be a bit shell-shocked by now, considering some posts I've seen. I try to be reasonable, so she doesn't just dismiss me as some crank. I'll let you know if she does. Bill

At 3/30/2006 9:23 PM, Anonymous Glen Dean said...

Very well written.

At 3/30/2006 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, superb letter. It immediately takes the wind out of Maggart's assertions and hopefully, she will eat her words on her misinformed statements. Hope you receive a thoughtful response from her and if you cause her to doubt just one of her sentences, you have a accomplished a lot. Great Job.

At 3/31/2006 7:28 AM, Blogger Brian Varitek said...

This is a very well written letter. Great job.

At 3/31/2006 10:49 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...

Thanks Glen, BC and Brian. I try to keep my letters polite like my grandma taught me.

At 3/31/2006 12:33 PM, Blogger *Manda* said...

Excellent, wonderful! Bravo!! :)

Your email was most excellent, especially the portion about your friend in the Air Force. There is so far to go with that line of thinking...and I hope that eventually our lawmakers will realize how disgusting it is to say a man or woman can die for their country, but is still a 2nd Class Citizen under the law, denied such basic rights as the right to marry, anti-discrimination in the work place, etc.

I really hope that instead of being narrowminded about it, she takes your letter to heart (if she reads it, of course), and actually looks at the real facts concerning the issue.

Good luck, and thanks. People like you are the reason I have hope for our country.

P.S. Thanks for your comment (^_^)

At 3/31/2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Bill Ware said...


Thinking about my friend inspired me to write Gay Military Service

At 4/01/2006 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant e-mail, Bill. It doesn't surprise me that they dig up outdated sources to justify their current claims.

At 4/05/2006 7:55 AM, Anonymous Bill - US Citizen said...

As has been said many times already, thank-you. You have my unwavering appreciation!

At 4/24/2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Christopher Walker said...

I was relieved to learn that this Debra Maggart isn't running unopposed for re-election. There's a normal-looking, sane-sounding veteran and family guy running against her. His name is Patrick Gardner, and his web site is at


I think I'm gonna send him a few bucks. I get so tired of reading stories like the one you profiled, and getting angry, but having nothing practical that I can do in response. Maybe if I actually *do* something this time, my blood pressure will go down. And in a small, rural district like that, if a certain number of folks make an effort to help, maybe Rep. Maggart will get a surprise in November when the votes are counted.

At 4/25/2006 12:36 AM, Blogger Bill Ware said...


Patrick Gardner's name has come up before. This is why I never contribute to national or state parties (in addition to the fact that I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat). I like to save my funds for a particular race where I feel the money will make a difference. Best regards, Bill

At 4/25/2006 3:52 PM, Anonymous Christopher Walker said...

I've recently come around to your way of thinking, Bill. I used to give money to the general campaign funds of the party I normally favor; but now, like you, I try to identify key races and apply my personal values to making an informed choice.


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