June 26, 2007

CNN Feature on Gay Adoption

CNN has been paying some attention to GLBT issues recently, and fortunately my friend Sharone has been paying attention to CNN and let me know about it.

I'm linking here to a feature they posted on gay adoption. One of the interesting things they point out in the article is the fact that only three states have laws on the books that prohibit same-sex couples from adopting a child. On the other side, there are only 13 states that explicitly allow it, so there is a lot of gray area most gay couples have to navigate as they work through what is already a challenging process without that complication.

According to a March 2006 Pew Research Center poll, 46 percent of Americans support gay and lesbian adoption, up from 38 percent in 1999.

Some opponents argue that gay or lesbian households suffer from not having both a mom and a dad.

"Love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development," James Dobson -- the head of Focus on the Family, a socially conservative organization -- wrote in a commentary for Time magazine in December 2006.

"The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy, any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl."

But there are millions of single heterosexual mothers and fathers and foster parents, legally raising children across the country. Some find it hard to see how children of same-sex couples or single gay parents are somehow worse off.

"There is no credible social science evidence to support that gay parenting -- and by extension, gay adoptive parenting -- negatively affects the well-being of children," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

"It's quite clear that children do fine in homes led by gays and lesbians. That's a pretty basic bottom line."

Pertman says his organization is not particularly involved in gay and lesbian issues - they support gay and lesbian parenting because it "serves children's interests."

Several organizations -- the National Adoption Center, the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics -- also say that having gay and lesbian parents does not negatively affect children.

Other proponents, like Rob Woronoff of the Child Welfare League of America, argue shutting off adoption and foster care to gays and lesbians adversely affects children because it narrows the pool of potential parents.

"There's no rational reason to exclude someone [who clears the vetting process]," he said.
"Anyone who clears all of those hurdles ... should be able to have a child."

As usual, Dr. Dobson takes a complicated issue and draws it down to its most simplistic form. If he is so worried about a child not having both a male and female influence, he should, dare I say, focus more on solidifying the "traditional marriage" he's so hepped up on preserving and not worry about diminishing the benefits of two men or two women raising a child in a loving home.

The critical point here is the one made by Rob Woronoff of the Child Welfare League. There are not enough people making themselves available to adopt all the children that need a home. How can it possibly be in the best interests of the kids to reduce that pool even further?

Of course, those kids don't offer financial support to organizations like Focus on the Family, do they?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, as usual. This issue touches me, personally, as Erica is adopted. She lived in a group home, though, from the time she was 11 until she was 16. Formative years to live in that kind of environment!! I can bet that if she had been in a home with one loving parent or two loving parents of the same sex, she'd have a lot less "family" issues to deal with now.
    Unfortunately, all the Religious Right seem to be interested in is making sure that their kind of families are the only ones around. Sad but all too true.