When a gay couple sought to adopt a boy- who had leukemia, had been neglected by his biological parents, had lived in five foster homes, and whose adoption was favored by his legal representative- the judge deemed it not in the interest of a seven-year-old male child to be placed for adoption into the home of a pair of adult male homosexual lovers. (Utne 58) Three years of searching for a qualified heterosexual couple failed. This and many other similar cases have denied children a family by ignoring many qualified homosexuals.
With this being an age when people are supposedly more open-minded, why is it that gays are treated this way just because of their sexual orientation? Many Americans are still uncomfortable with the idea of gay parents. The traditional family has always included a mother and a father. However, today more and more families are being headed by gay parents. Some have children from previous marriages. Many must use artificial insemination or surrogate mothers because it is extremely difficult for gays to adopt children.
Although it seems to contradict societys view of the traditional family, homosexuals should be allowed to adopt because they deserve equal rights, and sexual orientation is not a reasonable determining factor in the qualifications of a parent. Also, allowing them to adopt can actually help society. Surveys suggest that a large majority of the American public generally favor anti-discrimination laws. (Harris 2) Why then, according to a Newsweek survey, do only 36% of those surveyed think gay couples should have the right to adopt?
Samuel Chavers, assistant general counsel for Children and Families, says adoption is not a right; its a privilege. If this is true, there is still not a rational basis for denying homosexuals the privilege to adopt. It is clearly an anti-gay bias. Although only two states specifically ban adoption by gays, most states discourage it. Just as blacks and women have fought for equal rights, gays are now struggling to do the same. It is unfair to single out a group of people with many members who would make great parents.
Since we live in a world where all men are created equal, homosexuals should enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals. Gays face discrimination because of their sexual preferences, and they must also face the qualifications for adopting. June Amer has a son of her own, whom she and her partner have raised. They wanted to adopt a second child. Amer truthfully filled out an application form that asked whether she was a homosexual. Her application was immediately rejected. (Fitzgerald 1B) This was a woman who had already proved to be a good parent and who lived in a healthy environment.
She could have provided much-needed care for another child. Her only characteristic that did not meet the qualifications was that she had a female lover. Because of this reason, many qualified applicants are being turned down. It is great that people are willing to adopt children, but it is terrible that this one qualification is stopping so many of them. Sexual orientation alone doesnt make a person a good or bad parent. (Kantrowitz 57) Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, agrees.
The goal should be to identify those homes that would provide nurturing environments. The determination should not be sexual orientation. (Wagner 1) Adoption agencies need to quit using sexual orientation as a factor. A family is a family. That is exactly what so many children today are in need of: a family. There are now 36,000 children in this country- in foster homes or institutions- who are free for adoption. (Utne 54) These children need the love that homosexuals can provide just as well as heterosexuals.
If the many willing gays could adopt these children, it would help our society by lessening the problem of children without families. A home is much better than an institution, or worse, the streets. It would also help by diversifying society. All people are not the same, so why should all families have to be the same? If children are adopted by gay parents, more people will become accepting and open-minded towards different lifestyles. Society will definitely be positively affected the day that homosexuals can freely adopt. There are many reasons why people believe gays should not freely adopt.
A major argument is that children need a male and female figure in their lives in order to develop emotionally. This is true, but most gays have family members and friends who can provide that role. Most same-sex parents say they make a special effort to ensure that their kids learn to relate to adults of the opposite sex. (Kantrowitz 57) Melissa Etheridge and her partner, Julie Cypher, explain that their kids will not live in a girl vacuum. (Kantrowitz 55) Many people worry that being brought up by gay parents will cause children to be gay.
Much study has been done on this issue. Researchers have not found any more or less of a tendency in children brought up by gays to be homosexual themselves. (Harris 4) Also, some believe that it is too traumatic for kids to have gay parents. What about being traumatized by an abusive alcoholic father? They hardly compare. For those who say that the children will be uncomfortable having gay parents, they are the ones who make the kids uncomfortable. Gays say that what makes their children uncomfortable is not homosexuality itself but societys intolerant attitude toward it. Henry 69) People need to realize that there are not really any verifiable reasons for keeping gays from adopting. It is discouraging that there are only a few hundred documented adoptions by open gays. However, hopefully in the near future many more homosexuals and kids without parents will be able to have what they deserve: a family. I would like the day to come when theres nothing to talk about, period, said Jeff Carron, an adoptive father. Whether Im married to Susan or Steve, big deal. Am I nice? Am I good? Am I a loving parent? Thats the important thing. (Harris 2)