April 11, 2011
Gay and Lesbian Adoption: A Constant Battle
Gays and lesbians encounter social and legal discrimination while finding happiness in the adoption process. All citizens of the Untied States have the given constitutional rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness tell us that if you obey all laws, you are entitled to happiness regardless of the opinions of others. Having already set forth the notion of equality, we have no superior right over others, and are thus obligated to respect the equal rights of others to pursue happiness as they so desire. Gays and lesbians have struggled to find this happiness for years. After battling with society and the fear of others perspectives of them, some find peace and love within themselves no matter what the world thinks.
After the struggles gay and lesbian couples may have to experience, some couples see that the only way to complete their family is to adopt a child. Stating the obvious, the only way a same sex couple can have children are by artificial insemination or by adoption. The United States has a very large number of children in orphanages and foster homes. Through the adoption process gay and lesbian couples have a chance to give a child a loving home just like any heterosexual couple with the standard credentials it takes to provide a safe environment. Gay and lesbian adoption has been an ongoing process both rigorous and heartbreaking as today??™s society is not as accepting and does not seem to be the progressing as those men and women try to supply a child with a home full of love and happiness.
The citizens of the Untied States have come a very long way form the way they were in the early 1960??™s. Women now have the right to vote, although the struggles were at a great cost to many women willing to stand up and fight for that right. Races other than white are now accepted and most certainly can not be discriminated against when applying for jobs, education, or even political offices. That transition came with compromise and to this date still remains an ongoing development to find peace and harmony. Many people were opposed to change, as mentioned above, but the majority eventually found acceptance for them all. Gay and lesbian rights have also come very far. For example, gay marriage has been accepted and recognized in five states, Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut and New Hampshire. A few other states that do not allow same sex marriage do recognize and give those couples benefits just as any heterosexual couples are entitled to have insurance benefits and health care coverage for their partner. Their rights are the same as a man and wife are entitled without the legal documents stating the union of the two individuals.
Another change that is slowly being accepted by private adopting agencies is the adoption of children to same sex couples. Over the years there has been a rise in the number of gay and lesbian adoption. This can be attributed in part to the efforts of gay and lesbian advocacy groups, who have helped shape debates about the definition of the family in American society and worked diligently to advance attitudes about gays and lesbians, individually and in family units???(Matthews and Cramer). Same sex adoption is frowned upon by many. The question that is being proposed by gay and lesbian advocacy groups is this ??? If there are two people willing to give a child a home, why not let them??? There are many children being brought up in single family households, where plenty of love provides the necessary requirements for traditional growth and development. There is no discrimination against those families, and most children grow up and live very prosperous lives.
By the time a same sex couple finds peace in their life and a love that can not be unbroken they want to share what they have found. To further extend their family, they find themselves in a world of ups and downs, acceptance, and sadly enough, being turned away from the adoption process. ???Agencies have the right to discriminate against the gay population since most of them base their determination on their religion??? (Mathewes and Cramer). There are many gays and lesbians with those same religions, and they are still turned away, simply because the couple is of the same sex, although all other requirements may be met the final decision remains no adoption permitted.
Adoption was recognized by Roman law but not by common law. Statutes first introduced adoption into the United States in the mid-19th century, and today adoption is allowed in all states for heterosexual couples. Adoption is generally a judicial proceeding, requiring a hearing before a judge. ???Statues usually provide that the consent of the parents or guardian of the child and duties accompanying natural parent must be obtained. An adopted child generally assumes the rights and duties of a natural legitimate child??? (Columbia Encyclopedia, 538).
There are only three states that prohibit same sex adoption: Mississippi, Florida, and Utah. Mississippi banned adoption by gay couples, but gay singles can adopt. Utah prohibits all unmarried couples for the same reason. Florida had banned gay couple adoption but gave them the right to be foster parents. Florida??™s actions do not make any sense. This is saying that same sex couples are good enough to foster a child but not good enough to adopt. By doing so, this is not only breaks the hearts of the couple but it affects the child in the process, because the child lives in this foster family for a specific amount of time. Affection and bonds develop, and though the child may want to stay, the law forbids it. Therefore the child is left not understanding the effects of the legal system. Most can relate to Cantor when he says that ???denying homosexuals to adopt violates both their state and federal due process rights because although parenting an adopted child is not a fundamental right, as parenting one??™s own biological child is??¦ parenting is so engrained in our culture that to deny the opportunity to adopt is a deprivation only in a lesser degree???(Cantor 103). These states simply do not have enough grounds to clarify the significant reasons behind their disapproval of same sex adoption.
Homophobic individuals believe that if a child grows up in a household with two mothers or two fathers ???the child may show differences in gender identity??? (Patterson 12). We live in a very diverse world. There is no evidence showing that if a child grows up with same sex parents that it will affect them one way or another in their sexual preferences. There are plenty of heterosexual couples that have reared children that are gay regardless of parental choices in sexuality. There is plenty of evidence where children growing up broken marriages, new husbands, new wives, step mothers, step fathers, which still results in multiple fathers and mothers, and the child is the one that suffers. The child is the one that is torn between the two families. What many people need to understand is that same sex couples can teach their children to love and respect all people no matter what race, gender, religion, or sexual preference. This is a life lesson that all parents should instill in their children, it could help reduce the majority of cynicism toward homosexuality and other discriminatory issues.
The question that Wilson proposes is ???not whether same sex couples should parent, clearly same sex couples are now parenting, but whether private adoption agencies will continue to let all people regardless of sexual preference into the agency for adoption??? (Wilson). So when will it be accepted in all these other states, when will there be enough proof provided by other same sex couples whom have adopted children, and raised them to live prosperous lives. There are heterosexual couples that have adopted children, and caused more damage than good. Those families have not been held to near the double standard that gay and lesbian couples are held to.
This pursuit of happiness, true happiness is not completely available to all people, due to different religious beliefs and outlooks from people that don??™t share the same views. There are no real reasons, and no hard core proof to discriminate against the adoption of children to gay and lesbians couples. The only wall that seems to be present is the objection of individuals whom refuse to see outside the ???traditional??? ways to live in this world. These are the people who rally against our rights to love and provide a child with a place they can call home, a place where the child can feel acceptance and remain protected from the extreme loneliness they feel growing up in an orphanage, or foster home. Every child desires to feel the security of home and everything that entails, even if that security can be found in a same sex parent household. The child still has the right to be given the opportunity to feel wanted and needed.
Matthews, John D., and Elizabeth P. Cramer ???Envisaging the Adoption Process to
Strengthen Gay- and lesbian-Headed Families: Recommendations for Adoption
Professionals. ???Child Welfare 85.2 (2006): 317-340. Academic Search Complete.
EBSCO. Web. 30 Mar. 2011
Wilson, Robin Fretwell ???A matter of Conviction: Moral Clashes over Same-Sex
Adoption.??? BYU Journal of Public Law 22.2 (2008): 475-497. Legal Collection.
EBSCO. Web. 30 Mar. 2011
Cantor, Donald J. ???Same Sex Marriage: the legal and psychological evolution in
America.??? Weslan University Press(2006) 101-114
Peterson, Charlotte J.,??? Adoption of Minor Children by Lesbian and Gay Adults: A Social
Science Perspective,??? Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, 2, 1995.
???Adoption.??? 2000. In The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. New York: Columbia