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Homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted and integrated into today’s society, however, when it comes to homosexuals establishing families, a problem is posed. In most states, homosexuals can adopt children like any other married or single adult. There are many arguments to this controversial topic; some people believe that it should be legal nationally, while others would prefer that is was banned everywhere, or at least in their individual states. There are logical reasons to allow gays to adopt children, but for some, these reasons are not enough. The main issue really is, what is in the best interest of the child? This type of problem isn’t really one with causes, effects, and solutions, but one with pros and cons. Like any other adoption situation, a parent prove themselves to be responsible and capable enough to raise a child on their own, or with a spouse.
This problem or issue is one that is proving to be a bigger one than many people most likely expected. In Today’s more liberal society, homosexuality seeing more acceptance than ever before. Homosexuals and heterosexuals alike have parental instincts and are as interested in beginning families and raising children. A family should be based on love and trust, if these two elements are present in a relationship, homosexual or heterosexual, there would be no reason that the environment the couple creates for a child would be bad. Some say the homosexual lifestyle revolves only around sex, which of course is the most inappropriate subject for a child. (White) For the most part, parents and adults keep what happens behind closed doors, private, therefore, there would be no reason for a homosexual person to flaunt their sex life, especially in front of a child.
Pros of Adoption by Gay Parents
Adoption is a very important part of the American lifestyle. The welfare of children needs to be put in front of homophobia. There are an estimated 500,000 children in foster care nation wide, and 100,000 of these children are awaiting adoption. In 2013, only one child of every six available for adoption was actually adopted. (Sanchez, 13) Statistics like these show the true importance of adoption. People seem to prefer to have their own children biologically, but adoption should be taken into consideration, even if natural conception is possible.
Although it may seem as if there are a lot of children awaiting adoption, the majority of Americans are affected by adoption in one way or another. In 2013, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute conducted a survey of 3,534 adults to examine public attitudes toward the institution of adoption and members of the adoption triad. The survey found that 6 in 10 Americans have had personal experience with adoption, meaning that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption. (Berger, 12)
There are no significant differences between kids with gay parents and kids with straight parents on a variety of psychological measures, including gender-roles, self-esteem, and more. Also, kids with gay or lesbian parents are no more likely to be gay themselves, but even if they were, there is nothing wrong with that. Joshua, a young man whose mother is a lesbian stated: “I grew up in the gay community and it was never kept from me. I always was around gay and straight couples. It never seemed strange to me. It was my life. My mom's sexuality of same-sex attraction has not been imposed upon me. I have been brought up as an individual, not a follower. My mother is a lesbian and I'm proud of her for not being afraid to show it. She's been a great mother for the last fourteen years, and she's always been there when I needed her. She has kept us both alive and well as the only source of money. She is my best friend. I don't know exactly what I think about being the son of a lesbian, but I know I'm damn lucky to have a mom like mine."
Survey questions about the degree to which American society should accept homosexuality often draw different responses depending on how questions are worded and what specific examples are mentioned. This is generally an indication of public ambivalence, and a number of findings suggest that many Americans feel some tension between their desire to be fair to those who are different from themselves and a lingering unease with homosexuality itself. Surveys show that acceptance of gays and lesbians has risen over the last 20 years, and currently about half of Americans say that homosexuality should be “legal” and “accepted by society.” Yet questions that raise the issue of fair treatment typically draw much higher levels of public support. Very large majorities of Americans, for example, say that “as a matter of principle, the federal government should treat homosexuals and heterosexuals equally. Similarly high numbers of Americans say that homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities, but when questions refer to occupations such as teachers or clergy, support drops dramatically. (Kafka, 27) Because support drops dramatically when homosexuality becomes an issue with occupations that deal with child, such as teachers, of course there would be a problem when homosexuality is mixed with parenting. Some people believe that if states had a child’s best interest at heart, none of them would allow homosexuals to adopt. Children do not need to hear or see what adults are doing behind closed doors, or with whom. (Wardle)
If states truly had the best interest of the child at heart, none of them would allow homosexuals to adopt. Adoption is the issue here, nothing more explicit. It is inappropriate to introduce a young child to issues such as sexuality and homosexuality and/or homophobia. Growing up, children and teenagers face many pressures and sometimes face things like being teased and bothered. Having a gay parent would make situations like these even worse.
Also, there may be the lack of influence from one gender or the other. People say that homosexual parents are a ad moral influence on children and cause them to grow up with and develop other immoral ethics. People against gays and the rights they have concerning adoption have stated that gay parents are likely to turn their child gay as well.
This issue may seem simple, but everything controversial about the homosexual lifestyle revolves around sex. Homosexuals are like every other American, they work, pay taxes, vote, and do things like most people do, but because of the “normal” way they behave in public, like everyone else, one cannot tell who is gay and who is not. Data has shown that raising kids in anything other than traditional mom-dad households is what has caused, or led to, many of growing teen problems. (Wardle)
Florida, Mississippi, and Utah
There are three states in the U.S. that do not allow gay couples to adopt children. Florida, however, is the only state to explicitly ban gays from adoption. Utah and Mississippi are the other two states banning gay couple from adopting children. Utah does not explicitly state that they ban gays from adopting, but Utah only allows responsible married couples adopt children. Homosexual marriages are not legal in the state of Utah; therefore, the adoption of children by homosexual adults is not legal. (Sanchez) In Mississippi, the law prohibits homosexuals from co-adopting, but will allow single homosexual adults to adopt.
Mississippi Utah Florida
Adoption by single parents Legal Not legal Legal
Adoptions by married couples Legal Legal Legal
Adoption by single gay parents Legal Not legal Not legal
Co-adoption by gay parents Not legal Not legal Not legal
The above table shows the various laws in the three states that limit gays from adoption. The table gives a simple description of the laws.
Homosexuals and Adoption in the Media
Florida's law is considered the nation's toughest, because it prohibits adoptions not only by gay couples, but also by gay individuals. Several legislators who signed the original legislation have now signed a statement saying the legislation was a mistake passed in a climate of prejudice and gay-fear. Although there hints of Florida changing its law, so far, the state is standing its ground. Having Rosie O’Donnell in the media fighting Florida’s law will help push the state in the other direction.
Rosie O’Donnell will eventually win her fight against Florida to have adoption by responsible homosexuals legalized. Odds on her side simply because of logic. She is a responsible woman with the means to raise healthy and well developed children in her home. It is a simple matter of time before the state legislature puts the welfare of hard-to-adopt children ahead of gay fear. The limitations that Florida places on adoption are built basically on the fear of homosexuals and the stereotypes that go along with the “gay lifestyle.” (Stone) Although Rosie only recently officially came out to the public with her sexual orientation, it did not come as a surprise to many. In case of any doubt, word has strategically leaked out that O’Donnell mentions women she’s loved and bedded in her Warner Book, “Find Me.” However, this element in the book is a very small one, and the word “gay” is nowhere to be found in its pages. Rosie has been in the news quite often because of her battle with Florida and its homophobic laws. Although she has admitted to loving and being with women, she also has admitted the same feelings for men. Evidently, even though, she was once, considered to be heterosexual, where it would be alright for her to adopt without problem, it is now an issue simply because she prefers women over men. (Hitt)
Although in support of gay and lesbian couples adopting, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that some guidelines should be legally followed in the state of Arizona. Some of these guidelines include: gay and lesbian cannot co-adopt because if parents were to split up, there could potentially be custody battles and complications. Parents must also be able to provide health care and take care of other responsibilities like doctor visits and parent-teacher conferences. Basically, the Academy believes that everything should be in the best interest of the child. Studies have shown that homosexual and heterosexual parenting are virtually the same. Children raised in homosexual homes have the same advantages for health and adjustment and development as children whose parents are heterosexual. (Adoptive Families)
PFLAG, The Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbian and Gays is a support groups that supplies speakers to schools and community forums to talk about living with gay family members. This service is an important one to the gay community and their efforts for legalizing adoption of children into homosexual families. Groups like PFLAG and schools who promote lessons like this are very helpful in promoting the legalization of gays adopting children all over the country. Unfortunately, young children and teens of gay and lesbian parents are subject to anti-gay teasing and harassment, regardless of their own sexual orientation. Knowing this, family members, friends, teachers, coaches, spiritual leaders, and other mentors should be watchful of childhood teasing that becomes harassing and hurtful. PFLAG's safe schools program, "From Our House to the School House: A Recipe for Safe Schools" offers guidelines to making schools a welcoming environment for all students. (From Our House)
According to the American Psychological Association, "More and more lesbian women and gay men are choosing to parent. They are adopting children, becoming foster parents, having biological children through donor insemination, etc., either as single parents or with other gay or lesbian co parents.” (pflag.org) There is no evidence that gay and lesbian people are not good parents, or that there are negative emotional or psychological impacts on their children. On the contrary, studies have consistently shown that there are no differences in the emotional and psychological development between children with gay parents or children with heterosexual parents. (pflag.org)
For lesbians and gay men, issues of family and intimate relationships are profoundly important. These include parenting, custody, and adoption rights, as well as the recognition of relationships, including marriage and partnership. The Lesbian and Gay Rights Project represents people who have been separated from their children because they are lesbian or gay, and gay men and lesbians who either want to be legally recognized as co-parents or want to adopt. Since the 1970s, the ACLU has supported the right of lesbians and gay men to marry and more recently has vigorously opposed state and federal laws aimed at preventing lesbians and gay men from marrying. The Project has also written and negotiated policies that recognize domestic partnerships, and brought cases designed to gain recognition for lesbian and gay families. (ACLU)
Nature dictates that children should be produced and raised by heterosexual couples, however, not all children are wanted by these heterosexual couples and, not necessarily just gays, there are few couples/singles who are interested in adopting disabled kids. Homosexuality is a departure from the state of affairs that are considered “normal” by the American lifestyle; it does not make a gay person any less of a man or a woman who has nurturing and loving instincts. People should not be labeled or defined by a sexual label. There is no need to make one’s sex life public, and what should anyone’s sex life have to do with their ability to raise a healthy, well developed person? A heterosexual person’s sexuality has nothing to do with the qualification process when they are trying to adopt a child, there is no reason this should be true for aspiring gay and lesbian parents.
Berger, Carolyn. "Adoption: It Will Change Your Family Forever." The American Fertility Association. Carolyn Berger, LCSW, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
“Adoptive Families: Recognizing Differences” The American Academy of Pediatrics. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Hitt, Caitlyn. "There's No Difference Between Same-Sex & Opposite Sex Parents." Your Tango, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Kafka, Tina. Gay Rights. Farmington Hills: Lucent, 2012. Print.
Wardle, Lynn. "Restrictions on Gay and Lesbian Adoption Are Not Unconstitutional." Current Controversies: Issues in Adoption. Ed. William Dudley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004.
White, ED. "Professor Says Children of Same-sex Couples Trail." The Washington times. N.p., 4 March 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Sanchez, Julian. “All Happy Families.” Reason. 01 Aug. 2005. . eLibrary. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Stone, Andrea. "USATODAY.com - Both Sides on Gay Adoption Cite Concern for Children." USA Today, 20 Feb. 2006. Web. 28 Mar. 2013.
"From Our House to the School House: A Recipe for Safe Schools"