By the time Loudoun Republican Del. Dick Black’s bill [Disclosure] got the Senate, it was already not quite eviscerated but toned down. He wanted to ban gays from adopting. The House settled for giving prospective adoptive parents the third degree. “Have you now or ever been a card carrying gay?” Well, actually, the language was concerned with current homosexual activity, whatever that is.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed it on a voice vote — a loud one, according to some reports. Only one story said three GOPers voted for it but didn’t identify them, and as a voice vote it wasn’t recorded. I’d venture they included Cuccinelli and Obenshain. Anybody know?

It is incredible the misinformation Dick Black will spread. And the backtracking. After all, his original bill specifically banned homosexuals from adopting.

Black argued that it was not aimed at homosexuals; his only interest was the welfare of the adopted child. Virginia has long recognized the stable benefits of a home with a mother and father, he said.

Homosexuals have a higher history of depression, alcoholism and suicide, he said.

…Black’s chief witness, Paul Cameron, chairman of the Family Research Institute in Colorado, said research shows that homosexuals, drug users and prostitutes disrupt society and have a much shorter life span.

He lumps gays in with drug users and prostitutes. It’s embarrassing that our state lawmakers will even give this guy a hearing. No, on second thought, giving them enough rope is probably a good idea.

Also testifying for Black’s bill was Robert H. Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute in Washington.

“Who among us could say that our father could be replaced by a lesbian and this would not have made any difference in our lives?” he asked.

Earth to Knight: The kids being adopted don’t have a father or mother willing to care for them. Is that better for them than gay parents?

Kudos to Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)

Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, pounced.

Are you saying depressed people shouldn’t be allowed to adopt? she asked.

“Yes,” Black responded.

Do you know how many straight people are clinically depressed?

“I would imagine lots,” he responded.

Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, said he has handled thousands of adoption cases as a lawyer and has never seen a child placed with an adult who wasn’t recommended as able to provide a secure, loving environment, regardless of sexual orientation. As a result, he said, the bill wasn’t needed.

The most hostile attacks during an hourlong hearing were levied at Black’s main witness – the author of a highly criticized study that purports to show that gays and lesbians are 34 percent more likely to molest their adopted children than are straight parents.

The author of that study, Paul Cameron, who bills himself as a sociologist, also told the committee that gays and lesbians are more likely to die younger, most around age 50, and that’s not good for any children they adopt.

On questioning, Cameron admitted his life-span analysis was based on reading the obituary pages of the Washington Blade, a gay and lesbian newspaper, and that his molestation statistics had been dismissed by some sociologists as scientifically suspect, based on numerous errors.

He also admitted, under harsh questioning by Howell, that he was kicked out of the American Psychological Association on ethics charges in 1983, and that in 1986 the American Sociological Association passed a resolution denying that Cameron was a sociologist and condemning his “consistent misrepresentation of sociological research.”

Then we have Virginia Cobb perpetuating the myth that all homosexuals are promiscuous.

Victoria Cobb, the executive director of the Family Foundation of Virginia, expressed disappointment with the committee’s vote, saying the state “has a responsibility to ensure that children are adopted in the most stable environments possible, including reviewing the promiscuity of anyone desiring to adopt.”

Black’s language, however, never had anything in it about promiscuity; it asked about sexual preferences.

Kudos to Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) — for his restraint.

“This thing comes awfully close to being pretty bigoted.”

Christopher Newport University political-science professor Quentin Kidd has a perspective on this and other anti-gay legislation. It may sound familiar to regular readers of this blog in two ways. He reflects some of my views as well as those who’ve commented here that liberals also “legislate morals.”

“One of the untold and most profound stories related to the Republican takeover in Virginia has to do with the increased efforts that we’ve been seeing in recent years to increase regulations on people’s personal lives,” Kidd told the [Augusta Free Press]. “It’s not something that you’re hearing a lot about in the press, but it is something that makes liberal Democrats, to borrow from the Republican terminology, look like civil libertarians who never had the first thought about trying to legislate mores at all.”

Kidd said that while the Republican charge against the gay-rights sector “is clearly in line with the interests of the majority of Virginians electorally,” at the same time, “perhaps people need to step back and say, how does it benefit us to try to use the weight of public policy to prevent individuals from being individuals?”

“Progressives, liberals, however you want to say it, try to use government to empower individuals who have been left behind by the system. But government these days does not seem to seek to empower people. It restricts them. People ought to be troubled by that,” Kidd said. “No matter if you hate gays or don’t approve of the gay lifestyle, you have to ask, is it right for government to restrict people from being able to live their lives the way they see fit?”