A Republican congressman from New Jersey was caught on tape ranting to a group of high school students about the prospect of same-sex couples adopting children, suggesting that kids would be better off in orphanages than with LGBT families.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) made the controversial remarks on May 29 while addressing student constituents in the auditorium of Colts Neck High School, according to an audio tape released by the Washington Blade on Wednesday.
In the audio tape, high school senior Hannah Valdes tells the lawmaker that she has an older gay sister who wants to adopt a child with her partner.
“I just wanted to know if you think that, based on household studies, she would be less of a legitimate parent and why she couldn’t adopt a child?” Valdes asks.
“The the issue, legally, is moot at this point especially with the Supreme Court decision,” Smith replies, an apparent reference to the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage. “She’s free to adopt.”
“Right, but why do you think she shouldn’t be able to adopt a child?” Valdes asks.
“There are many others who would like to adopt who can acquire a child,” the lawmaker responded, noting that “the waiting periods are extremely long.”
Another student asked Smith what makes “others” better-suited to raising children.
“In my opinion a child needs every possibility of —” the Republican said, before cutting himself off.
“Somebody mentioned orphanages before,” he continued. “I mean, orphanages are still a possibility for some kids.”
Valdes told the Blade that earlier in assembly, “another student asked about one of Smith’s votes in 1999 in favor of an amendment that would have banned adoption by gay parents in D.C.”
Smith told the audience he does not believe in gay adoption because it is unhealthy for children.
“Rep. Smith responded by saying that he does not approve of gay adoption because gay households are not healthy environments for children to grow up in,” Valdes told the Blade. “He then stated that ‘numerous household studies’ show that children that have heterosexual parents have better lives than children that have homosexual parents.”