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Granting Legal Rights to Gays and Lesbians

Thesis Statement: Granting legal rights to gays and lesbians would threaten the structure of the nuclear model family since children need traditional male and female parents.

Introduction

Many people would disagree, claiming that the only suitable and natural family unit for any child is a nuclear one, consisting of a mother and a father. By evidence of their 1977 ban on the adoption of children by homosexual couples, the state of Florida is in agreement. Although it is the only such law in the United States of America, there are currently six other states considering following in its footsteps.

In my opinion, I believe that children in need of a home and loving parents should be given the chance to experience it, regardless of the sexual orientation of those wishing to take on the responsibility.

One of the main issues brought to light during the discussion of this topic is the fact that every child should be given the right to both a mother and a father. It is believed by many that to grow psychologically and prepare for the world ahead of them, children need to have role models of both genders. In addition, it is said that every little girl needs the emotional support of a mother; likewise for a small boy and a father. It may also be argued that future relationships of children adopted by gay couples could be tainted because they have not experienced living with the opposite sex; if the gender of the adopted child matches that of its adoptive parents. “Studies have shown that children are more influenced by their interactions with their parents, than by their sexual orientation. With this in mind, the American Association of Pediatrics supports gay and lesbian couples adopting children.”

However, if this is the case then must all families which do not provide their children with both parents also be banned? Statistics show that one in 20 adopted children in the U.S. go to single-parent homes, resulting in approximately 1.5 million single mothers and 1000 single fathers. If this large amount of parents raise emotionally and psychologically unstable children who can not handle relationships, legal action would have been taken to prevent such people from adopting.

The suggestion, currently being considered by several states, is remarkable on several levels. Not the least of which is its disregard for the unique characteristics of a loving union between husband and wife. That is to say, a loving union between man and woman provides a child with a maternal and paternal balance that helps a child navigate his equal and opposite impulses. So that beyond love or finances, this sort of emotional stability is crucial to building a child’s self-esteem.

Role models and means of emotional support can also be found elsewhere, besides in the home. Friends, neighbors, and teachers provide this and more. Interaction with members of the opposite sex is experienced during school life, so any child living in either a homosexual or single-parent family would not be disadvantaged. Another topic raised is that of homophobia. Though frowned upon by many, homophobia is still very much alive in today’s society. Psychical violence, extreme prejudice, and exclusion are problems faced by a large majority of gay people daily. As it has been for centuries, the gay community is commonly considered unacceptable.

It could be said that to place a child into the care of people who are subjected to such treatment; a child perhaps too young to have an opinion on homosexuality is morally wrong. Exposing impartial children to such ridicule is not considering their welfare, and must therefore be disallowed. This negative treatment could also extend to the child’s everyday life at school, through means of taunting by the children of heterosexual couples. Bullying could perhaps reach such a degree that the child begins to begrudge its adoptive parents for causing them to experience such torment.

Although issues like these are cause for concern, they are the unfortunate result of society’s ongoing negative attitude towards anyone or anything considered “unnatural”. It is only through embracing homosexual people, whether attached or single and accepting them as members of our community that we can hope to overcome prejudice. It is both a common saying and a fact that children are the future. We can only hope to shape our children in the most positive ways possible, to make for a better world. This includes disposing of homophobia. A predominant amount of children adopted by gay couples will see past the discrimination surrounding them, and will therefore be a valuable asset to a prejudice-ridden world in the future. “There is some evidence that growing up with homosexual parents increases the likelihood of sexual promiscuity, experimentation, and homosexual sexual experience. If sexual preference is at least in part learned, this is to be expected. There is also a large literature indicating that gender nonconformity growing up leads to an increased likelihood of developing a homosexual orientation as an adult.”

A child should be brought up by its parents, and if that is not possible, by parents who can as closely as possible fulfill the role of the absent parents in a traditional family environment. Children should be raised by a mother and a father who are in a loving relationship. Therefore homosexual couples are not suitable adoptive or foster parents. The way that has evolved in nature for caring for children is by a mother and a father. We should not positively encourage ways of rearing unnatural children. The natural way evolved because that is what is best for the children. Our first concern must be the welfare of the children being adopted or fostered. In society at large homosexuality is not yet fully accepted as a way of life and children of homosexual couples would be subjected to teasing, abuse, and social exclusion. It is not right to subject children to this pain and misery for the sake of our high-minded liberal adult ideals. The children do not have a voice of their own so it is up to us to protect them and oppose their being unnecessarily put in a situation of victimization and exclusion. (Mallon, p. 134)

A child should not be brought up with minority sexual role models as his or her only view of sexual relationships. Parents have a huge effect on the sexuality of their children, and allowing homosexuals to adopt would unacceptably skew and narrow the growing child’s view of sex. Heterosexual children might often find hostility horn their parents to their emerging sexuality. A child not only needs a biological mother and father, he or she also needs masculine and feminine role models. Homosexual couples do not give this variety but tend to fall at one end of the masculine-feminine spectrum for their sex.

The reality is that prejudice is not only experienced by homosexuals. The adoptive children of couples from ethnic minorities could also undergo scorn at the hands of their classmates, yet such couples are no denied the right of adoption, in even the most racist areas. Other such minority groups include immigrants, the physically and mentally disabled, followers of uncommon religions…If we are to allow only those we see as ordinary to adopt, we are left with a very slim chance of finding caring homes for the high amount of children in care.

The most important point in adoption by gay couples is the happiness and safety of the children. It is a confirmed fact that stability is one of the most important factors in raising a happy child. Insecurity within the home will reflect badly on the child, resulting in unhappiness within the parent-child relationship, as well as the relationship between the parents. Many insist that these are the type of problems that can be expected to occur as a result of adoption by gay couples. It is said that in comparison to happily married heterosexual couples, the reliability of a homosexual relationship is questionable. The reasoning behind gay couples requesting to adopt is also examined. Why, when single homosexuals are free to adopt, are gay couples insisting on their right to adoption? If their interests lie solely with the wellbeing of their potential child, then surely their recognition as a couple is not important. Due to this, is it speculated that the right to adopt is simply another statement made by the gay community to gain social acceptance.

Some also believe the adopted children are merely considered a symbol of the progression the gay couple has made; signifying they are one step away from being granted the right of marriage. I think that the foundations and success of any relationship lie with the communication and actions taken by the couple involved, and are not based on their sexual preferences. Like other adults in this country, the majority of lesbians and gay men are in stable, committed relationships. Of course, some of these relationships have problems, as do some heterosexual relationships.

Before a couple is allowed to adopt, they undertake a rigorous screening process by the adoption agency, to ensure the pair are able and willing parents, and the environment they live in is suitable for the child. This process is designed to exclude out individuals who are not qualified to adopt, for whatever reason. There is no evidence from these screenings which suggests that gay or lesbian individuals do not make suitable parents. The American Psychological Association revealed in a recent report on the subject that “not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” (Mallon, p. 129)

It is therefore vital that we certify the child’s safety in his or her new home. If we disqualify large numbers of gay couples from adopting because of the nature of their relationship, we may risk placing them in the care of heterosexual couples who are unsuitable. Isn’t it more important to place children with secure and loving parents, rather than keep strictly to straight couples who may not provide the child with what it needs?

An argument for gay adoption deals with the high amount of children in need of homes. It is estimated that there are 500,000 children nationwide in care. There is a high chance that many of these children may stay in as many as 20 foster homes before they reach the age of 18. Some never find a suitable, permanent home. It is this critical shortage of adoptive parents which highlights the importance of every willing and able couple who requests a child to adopt. (Mallon, p. 135) US Company Adopt America states that there are simply not enough married couples who are interested in adoption. The adoption policies must deal with reality to adequately home the children they were made to help. It could perhaps be insisted that if there was a sufficient amount of straight, married couples, egger and qualified to adopt then there would be no need for gay couples to argue their rights. However, as this is not the case, everyone willing must be taken into consideration. Another argument against allowing gay couples the right to adopt is the issue concerning human nature. (Mallon, 138) Some people believe that what cannot happen naturally must not happen at all; meaning that because a gay couple cannot produce children themselves naturally, then it should not be allowed for them to raise children by other means, such as adoption.

Although the natural order of the human body is important, to ban anyone unable to naturally create children would be unjust. It would not benefit the children either. Those who cannot conceive naturally may love and care for their adopted child as much, if not more, than those who can. If we disallow gay couples to adopt due to their inability to have children, then we must take into consideration the requests for adoption from infertile people or couples. One of the most common reasons in the world today for adoption is the fact that one or both of the people involved in the relationship are unable to produce children. However, these couples are not turned away. I strongly believe that if we are to argue that only naturally able people should have the right to children, then we must not exclude couples besides homosexuals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many reasons why it is felt gay couples should not be allowed to adopt; most of which deal with the doubts and concerns felt by those in today’s society. However, there is no evidence to support the allegations made towards gay couples and their ability to support and care for adopted children. I hope I have succeeded in clearly displaying the reasons as to why I believe bans such as those passed in Florida should not be universal. Although there are numerous reasons to stop homosexual couples from becoming adoptive parents, there are none to support the general view that heterosexual couples are more capable. Keeping the intentions of the children in need of good homes in mind, it is my strong belief that we should judge individuals on their own merits and abilities before making assumptions on their parenting skills, rather than conclude wholly on sexual preference.

Works Cited

  1. Kathy Belge, Lesbian and Gay Adoption Rights. Web.
  2. Armstrong Williams, Homosexual Adoption. Web.
  3. Is Gay Adoption Harmful?
  4. Mallon, Gerald P. Gay Men Choosing Parenthood. Publisher: Columbia University Press. 2004: 127-139