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A Republican lawmaker recently admitted on tape that orphanages are a better alternative than allowing gay couples to adopt, according to an article from the Washington Blade.

New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith was speaking in May to students at Colts Neck High School and the Blade obtained a recording from the event this week. In it, you can hear the politically aware students asking Smith why he opposes legislation prohibiting adoption by same-sex couples.

The recording begins with Hannah Valdes, a senior at Colts Neck High School, telling Smith she has a gay sister who has said in the future she wants to adopt a child with her partner. The student asks the New Jersey Republican whether “based on household studies” her sister would be “less of a legitimate parent” than someone in a different-sex relationship and why she shouldn’t adopt a child.

In an apparent reference to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling for marriage equality, Smith says “the issue, legally, is moot at this point especially with the Supreme Court decision” and tells the student her sister is “free to adopt.”

She is free to adopt… but only because people like Smith haven’t succeeded in their attempts to legislate bigotry. In 1999, he voted in favor of an amendment that would’ve banned same-sex adoptions in Washington, D.C.

His response is also funny in a way because he’s expressing a modicum of shame when it comes to his own bigotry. Instead of owning his vote and admitting he doesn’t think gay couples should be allowed to adopt kids, he tried acting like it’s a moot point. It’s like Smith knows his viewpoint is horrendous and knows how much it will hurt the student.

When another student asks what makes these “others” more suited to become parents than her fellow student’s sister, Smith starts to reply, “in my opinion a child needs every possibility of,” without finishing his sentence. That might have been a prelude to saying a child needs every chance of being raised by a mother and a father.

That’s when Smith praised orphanages. In that context, Smith suggested even being raised in an orphanage without parents would be better for a child than having LGBT parents.

“Somebody mentioned orphanages before,” Smith said. “I mean, orphanages are still a possibility for some kids.”

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 said. “He then stated that ‘numerous household studies’ show that children that have heterosexual parents have better lives than children that have homosexual parents.”

According to the Blade, “at least 75 studies have concluded children with same-sex parents fare no worse than other kids.” Smith doesn’t know that, or he doesn’t care.

We know without his having to say so that his objection to gay couples adopting comes from the Bible. So where do the limitations end? Would he allow adoption by couples who cohabitate? Or who’ve had premarital sex? Or are single? Or who hold religious beliefs that differ from his own? Are all of those things more important than criminal background checks and other cautionary measures to ensure the child will be well taken care of?

Not to him, they’re not. People like Smith will have their bigotry pried from their cold, dead hands before they do what’s actually best for the children they claim to care so much about. The irony is that, if Smith had his way, a pregnant woman who might have considered giving her child to a gay couple may opt for an abortion instead.

Smith couldn’t even handle basic questions from high schoolers, yet he’s on the verge of re-election in a seat that the Cook Political Report considers solidly Republican. You can support his opponent, Josh Welle, right here.

(Screenshot via YouTube)