COLTS NECK, New Jersey, September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, is fighting back after a pro-homosexual media outlet used a misleading audio snippet of a recent event to attack the lawmaker’s position on same-sex adoption.
Last Wednesday, the Washington Blade published a story on a May 29 question-and-answer session Smith held with students at Colts Neck High School. It included a one-minute audio clip in which senior Hannah Valdes asks him why her lesbian sister “would be less of a legitimate” adoptive parent along with her partner.
Smith answers first that the “issue, legally, is moot at this point” thanks to the Supreme Court, then begins to answer that “there are many others who would like to adopt who can acquire a child. Um, as I said, the waiting periods are extremely long, and-” Before finishing the thought, another student interrupts to ask “what makes them more legitimate than her sister?”
“Well you know, in my opinion a child needs every possibility of, you know you mentioned, somebody mentioned orphanages before,” Smith replies. “I mean orphanages are still a possibility for some kids, but um-” A student interrupts him again with an indignant, “You’d rather have kids in an orphanage than with…” and the clip ends on another inaudible male voice.
“After I asked my question and challenged him, an administrator cut in to change the topic,” Valdes claimed to the Blade, because they “quickly realized that their students would likely be asking more questions regarding LGBT rights.” So “instead of taking further questions, the assembly was promptly ended and all of us were sent back to class.”
The report sparked numerous condemnations among liberal and pro-LGBT publications. Democratic National Committee LGBTQ media director Lucas Acosta told The Advocate that Smith “has no problem putting his far-right agenda over the well-being of children.” Blue Jersey ran with the headline “Rep. Chris Smith says Orphanages are better than Adoption.”
LGBTQ Nation’s Sarah Toce wrote that the congressman “suggested that children ‘would be better off in orphanages’ than with LGBTQ families,” despite the fact that the phrase she placed in quotation marks is not a direct quote from the audio clip.
In response, the Smith campaign released the full 53-minute audio recording of the event (the exchange highlighted by the Blade begins at the 48-minute mark). It reveals that while an administrator did interject to change the subject to the late Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, Smith had already addressed the objection about orphanages earlier in the event.
When asked whether “foster care and orphanages would be in the better interests of the child,” Smith replies with an emphatic, “No, Lord no! We have waiting periods for families to adopt children, often by years.” He blamed those waiting periods partly on state and local governments that are discriminating against religious adoption agencies over their insistence on homes with both a mother and a father, a position supported by a variety of social science literature.
“And on adoption, adoption is all about the best interests of the child,” Smith stressed. “Now there are people who feel the best interest of the child is for gay couples to adopt. I really believe that the best interests, you find a home where they are more likely — the home study that is done takes in all kinds of factors.”
The congressman also stood by his 1999 vote to prohibit same-sex adoption in the District of Columbia (a vote other Republicans, like outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, have since abandoned).
“Anybody can twist your words and make false representations when they splice up a tape,” Smith said of the incident. “It is despicable that someone thought they could score political points by distorting the truth and raising false questions about my record and the full range of topics discussed at the assembly.”
Smith, a pro-lifer who has served in Congress since 1980, is expected to easily defeat Democrat challenger Josh Welle for reelection this November.