As Karl Rove prepares another rhetorical bashing of gay couples for the summer (it's been a two-year ritual since 1996, with diminishing electoral returns), the world carries on. Part of that world is the ubiquity of gay adoption, a socially beneficial activity that is also replicated throughout the animal world. The latest example comes from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, England. Two pink flamingoes (apparently unaware of my Ptown co-resident, John Waters) have been busy raising three generations of flamingo chicks, in a committed relationship lasting five years now. I do not, of course, endorse their adoption methods. But no one disputes their parenting skills. Money quote:
Nigel Jarrett, WWT Aviculture Manager explains:
"Carlos and Fernando have been together now for five years and seem perfectly happy together. Both of them take on the male roles during the courtship ritual which involves preening, strutting and waving their heads vigorously from side to side with their necks at full stretch. Their parental instincts are also very strong prompting them to raid the nests of other couples in the flock. They have been known to fight the heterosexual birds and there is usually a 'handbags at dawn' moment where they will fight with another couple before stealing their egg. They are both large adult males so as a partnership they are quite formidable and are afforded more respect from the other birds. They are also very good parents and behave just as the heterosexual birds do when rearing their young."
For the first 3 or 4 weeks young flamingos are fed on crop milk a pink nutritious liquid produced by both parents so Carlos and Fernando have no problem feeding their adopted young and have so far raised three chicks.
Memo to Robbie George: there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.