Texas: Twinkle Twinkle Little STAR

Twinkle twinkle little STAR/How I wonder what you are

It’s been five days since the putative death of Texas HB2725 was announced, but there is still no comment from so-called Texas adoptee rights activists at STAR. (Support Texas Adoptee Rights.)

Now, STAR, founded in 2013,  isn’t a newbie in the ring.  STAR, in fact, is the group that pushed for a bill this year, when TPTB in the Texas Legislature and Texas adoption/adoptee reform advised against; suggesting instead that 2019 be spent building a platform and team to support a clean passable bill later.

When STAR began its 2019 push for a bill, though, the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition (Adoptee Rights Law Center, Adoptees4Equality, Bastard Nation, Gladney Adoptees for Rights and Equality + strategic partner  Reclaim the Records) was formed in order  to have substantial input and to control, the no-compromise/no-restrictions narrative since STAR had a history of compromise. TxCare, the American Adoption Congress, and Concerned United Birthparents though not joining the coalition committed to support only clean legislation. STAR went along. How could it not since nobody advocating for OBC access comes out the gate saying they will deform? 

During the April 10, 2019 hearing before the House Public Health Committee,  STAR representative  Connie Gray testified full support for unrestricted OBC access. Then, in a WTF moment, turned tail and suggested that Texas OBC legislation could be based on Indiana’s Mike Pence-supported spurious access law that contains a birthparent Disclosure Veto and offers no guarantee that an OBC will be released– only some  “specific identifying information” taken from it. One possible amendment would have possibly stripped Texas adoptees of what little right to records they already enjoy. 

The initial reaction to the hearing was ominously  “positive;” that the bill would be voted out of committee, but probably dirtied on the floor. If that happened it would have to die. The usual adopteephobes–adoptive parents, privacy paranoids, and the Old Gray Lady herself–Gladney–locked themselves in their smoke-filled room in Austin and kept public silence. Governor Greg Abbott (an adoptive Gladney dad)  had heart palpitations at the thought of a 56-year old woman knowing the names of her biological parents since it might hurt the feelings of her adoptive parents.  HB2725 nuked quicker than we expected when Public Health refused to vote it out of committee Upon its unofficial demise, though, we learned that it might revive with the addition of amendments, including a birthparent Disclosure Veto or redaction mechanism–measures unacceptable to us all. 

Except STAR? 

Frankly, we don’t know.

STAR has gone dark. Its leaders have been contacted privately and asked publicly where they stand on HB2725.  They have refused to respond. No Facebook, no Twitter, no web page updates. We hope STAR’s members and social media followers get their news elsewhere; otherwise, they are still wondering what happened.

A couple of years ago, during another OBC campaign, STAR mix-messaged access opponent Rep. Donna Campbell. The group encouraged its people to harass her on her Facebook page and then turned around and posted a petition asking Campbell to “negotiate” with them. Of course, Campbell will never do that, and nobody outside of STAR supports harassment or compromise.

Secrecy has no place in the adoptee equality movement

The question now:  is STAR re-booting and secretly pushing a resuscitated HB2725. Is STAR sticking it to Texas adoptees in a lame and ultimately useless attempt to get something passed on its watch? Of course, we hope that STAR joins the rest of the stick-to-our-guns movement, but until it drops the cloak of secrecy, we don’t know. 

Crossposted from Bastard Nation

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