One of the leading political debates now a days is gay parenting. Vast majority of people are calling for a change in adoption laws with regard to same-sex couples. There are large number of states (22 till now) which no longer deny custody or visitation to a person based on sexual orientation, and have allowed lesbians and gay men to adopt children either through state-run or private adoption agencies. There are however states opposing this proposition. Florida’s 1977 law is the only law in the nation that bans gays and lesbians from adopting children. Currently, there are few other states also that are considering putting bans on gay and lesbian adoption. The debate is still going on the legality and morality of this increasing trend. While both sides of this debate give compelling reasons as the pros and cons of their beliefs, studies give proven data in relation to both sides of traditional and non-traditional familial roles.
In the past, most gay and lesbian parents lived secretive lives. The time is changing now. The recent past has witnessed a rise in the number of lesbians and gay men forming their own families. The society is now having more and more lesbian and gay families and the laws are also supporting them. The world seems to have accepted the reality and is giving ingress to gay culture. Gay parenting is part of this culture and gay couples can no more be denied of their rights of adopting children. This essay is therefore aimed at scrutinizing the issue of gay parenting highlighting view points of both the sides, and concluding to the legitimacy of gay adoption.
In United States, the number of children awaiting adoption is increasing day by day.
According to latest estimates, there are 517,000 children in foster care. Out of these, 118,000 children are waiting to be adopted (“Foster Care,” par. 1). In 2004, only 52,000 children could be adopted but the number of children admitted into the foster care remain much more than that. With such a large number of children living with out parents, the most viable option having no negative impact is promoting the gay adoption. There are people like the child advocacy workers who believe that children and youth are better off in family settings regardless of the parent’s sexual orientation rather than ending up in orphanages. Families whether they are traditional, or gay are best suited to provide loving support for children.
On the contrary, there are people who do not support the idea of gay adoption. They propagate that the best environment for the well-being of children is nothing short of a household with both a mother and a father. They advocate that a homosexual environment can model homosexual behavior to children. They believe that lesbians and gay men are more likely to molest children. It has also been indicated that children in homosexual households are four times more likely to identify as homosexual or get involved in homosexual behavior than children raised in single-parent households (“Gay Adoption Debate,” pars. 7-15).
Some opponents of adoption by same-sex couples question whether same-sex households provide children with adequate gender roles. Many people feel a great number of children raised in lesbians and gay homes will partake in or consider a same-sex relationship or may have an attraction to the same sex because they see the same activities every day and feel it as normal. They also propagate that these children with gay parents experience a high degree of teasing and ridicule when attending school. The opponents of gay adoption further profess that a child under care of homosexually behaving parents is exposed to additional stress resulting into psychological disorders, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, conduct disorder, and substance abuse (Rekers 2).
While analyzing the reality, the accusations leveled by the opponents of the gay adoption seem nothing more than myths. These are mere apprehensions. Research provides sufficient evidence that the children of lesbian and gay parents grow up as successfully as the children of heterosexual parents. In fact, not a single study has found the children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged because of their parent’s sexual orientation (“Gay Adoption Debate,” par. 5). The American Psychological Association also supports adoption by same-sex couples in its policy statement of July 28 & 30, 2004 (Paige 3).
The apprehension of providing gender role models to children stands nullified with large number of children having no parents at all. It is fact that children get their role models from many places besides their parents. The allegation of gay and lesbian parents raising children like themselves is also baseless. The research shows that sexual orientation of parents has no impact on the sexual orientation of their children. With the changing behaviors, the children of gay and lesbian parents are being accepted as normal and there is no discrimination being reported at any tier of the society. With reducing levels of discrimination, the stress factor also disappears.
A survey conducted by ABC NEWS reports that the supporters of same-sex adoption now outnumber opponents, for the first time in 10 years of polling on the subject. Forty-seven percent think gay couples should be legally permitted to adopt while 42 percent disagree (ABCNEWS, par. 3). This provides evidence of the increasing level of acceptance of gay adoption by the society. Research also proves that children brought up by gay or lesbian parents are just like normal kids and they grow up as happy and healthy as children of heterosexual parents. The time has come that the opponents of gay adoption should no more remain oblivious of the facts and should accept the reality with open heart. Gay adoption is legally and morally right and needs to be promoted for better interest of the society, as a whole.
ABCNEWS. “Survey on Gay Adoption.” April 2, 2002. October 4, 2006. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/gayadopt_poll020402.html
“Gay Adoption Debate.” Youth Debate. 2006. October 4, 2006
“Foster Care.” National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and Permanency Planning. 2004. October 4, 2006. http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/statistics.html
Paige, R. U. (2005). “Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI.” APA. 2004. October 4, 2006. http://www.apa.org/governance/.
Rekers, George, Alan. “Review Of Research On Homosexual Parenting, Adoption, And Foster Parenting”. 2005. October 4, 2006. http://www.narth.com/docs/RationaleBasisFinal0405.pdf