Gary Stocklaufer has been denied a request to adopt his cousin's child based upon the fact that he is obese. Mr. Stocklaufer weights over 500 pounds, and can be medically defined as obese, and the Court denied his request to adopt a child based on this fact. Mr. Stocklaufer believes that the denial is a form of discrimination and his weight has absolutely nothing to do with his ability to be a good parent.
In order for an adoption to be approved, the Court is going to look at a lot of different things, including the health of the party wishing to adopt. There is plenty of medical evidence to show that someone who is grossly overweight may suffer from a number of different health infirmities including, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, and premature death. Additionally, there are plenty of studies which argue that children of overweight parents are more likely to be overweight than children with parents of a healthy weight. While I don't necessarily believe that Mr. Stocklaufer's weight should be a determinate factor as to whether he should be allowed to adopt, I do believe that health should come into play when determining what is in the best interests of a child. Any disease or infirmity that may shorten a person's life and potentially leave a child without a parent is a factor and should be taken seriously by a Court.
If you would like to see the video from The Today Show about this case, see: http://video.msn.com/v/us/msnbc.htm?f=00&g=79ae3966-dd39-4b55-8a7c-4f116cbc0fa5&p=News_Editors%20Picks&t=m5&rf=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12065856/&fg=