British Adoption Agency Seeking Gay Parents, Dispels Myths

A Welsh children’s charity, Barnardo’s,  is actively seeking gay and lesbian prospective parents, in yet another demonstration that those in the know, the professional experts working in the field, recognize that parenting ability has nothing at all to do with gender or sexual orientation.   What matters far more, is the quality of love and the emotional stability of the home. Abundant scientific research has amassed reams of evidence, frequently disseminated by the professionals, and other agencies before this one have likewise made the same plea for more queer applicants – but the myths, freely promoted by ignorant Catholic spokesmen, still survive.

The resulting prejudice is one of the factors that discourages some potential prospective parents from applying. This is in direct conflict with the interests of the children, which the Church falsely claims to be promoting. The best interests of the children, the professionals know, lies in admitting the largest possible pool of applicants, irrespective of orientation, so that each child may be matched with the best possible parents. At present, there are an estimated 64,000 children in the care system in England: one quarter of whom will never find a family.  Excluding same-sex couples even from consideration as adoptive parents, as the Catholic bishops would like to do, cannot possibly improve the chances of that 25%, and could lead to some of the others being placed with parents who are possibly not necessarily the most suitable just the best suited heterosexuals.

 

Queer Families at Gay Pride, Rome

Fortunately, British law recognizes the facts, and does not allow agencies to practice discrimination. Now, we need to ensure that public opinion catches up with the facts, to eliminate the continued self-exclusion by some gay couples, who might otherwise to offer their help to children in real need. The tragedy here is that some Catholic agencies, rather than filling their obligation to do the best for the children, have simply stopped finding homes for children at all.

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Expert View on Gay Adoption: Beneficiaries are the Children.

Opponents of LGBT adoption regularly argue (correctly) that this is not a matter of gay/lesbian rights, but of the best interests of the children. Where they go wrong, is in making the false assumption that the best interests of the children involve excluding from consideration otherwise excellent potential parents who happen to have a homosexual orientation. At San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Bryan Moore has a great interview with the adoption professional Adam Pertman, who sets corrects some common misrepresentations.

 

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Gay Adoption, Gay Marriage as Moral Obligations: Two Jewish Views

Here’s a refreshing change: instead of the spurious, religious arguments against gay adoption and gay marriage, two more voices (this time, from Jewish perspectives)  speaking out on the positive faith-based reasons in favour of each.

In the first of these, at the Jerusalem Post, the orthodox Rabbi, television host and author of religious books on relationships Shmuley Boteach argues strongly in favour of gay adoption. Last month, he participated with Rosie O’Donnell in a New Jersey public discussion on the subject. In an article published before this event, he reflected on these issues, and especially on an aspect that I see as the most important of all. When a friend he spoke to expressed regret that Rosie’s four adopted children would never have a father (the standard, theoretical argument against gay adoption), Rabbi Shmuley replied with the obvious and important, reality-based response:

that without Rosie they wouldn’t have a mother either.

Gay Couple with child

Image via Wikipedia

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Gay Adoption Advances in Florida, Victoria – Worldwide.

Gay adoption has achieved three notable gains recently in Argentina and New South Wales (advancing in both by legislative action, both in the face of strong opposition by the Catholic Church), and in Mexico City, where the Constitutional Court ruled that the city’s law on gay marriage also permitted adoption by same sex couples. Less high profile cases which you may have missed also illustrate how queer families are gaining legal acceptance in many parts of the world – even in states like Florida, which has a constitutional ban on gay adoption.

Florida

Whereas a few years ago, opposition to gay equality as demonstrated in the ban was exploited by some conservatives as a vote catcher, it is becoming obvious that this has now become something of an electoral liability.  Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Adoption Passes Final Hurdle in NSW

After the original narrow passage in the lower house of the New South Wales Parliament, it’s been somewhat of a to and fro struggle, but the bill has now finally passed. New South Wales has joined ACT (Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia) in providing for adoption by same sex couples.

Typically, the difficulties concerned attempts to deal with religious objections. The original bill passed in the lower house only after an amendment to provide for some exemptions for religious bodies. In the Upper House, a conflicting amendment was passed to narrow the scope of those amendments, requiring that the bill return to the Lower House – then back to the upper house again. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fallacy of the Church Push Against Gay Adoption

In Australia, the New South Wales parliament has a bill before it which would legalise gay adoption. The churches are outraged, and pushing hard against the measure, or asking for special treatment. One Australian church agency is asking for exemption  from the non-discrimination clause. Anglicare argues that adoption should not be about politics and the “rights” of gay couples, but about the best interests of the child.

In Mexico, the Supreme Court this week will follow last’s week’s decision on gay marriage in Mexico City with a consideration of gay adoption (and also gay marriage nationally). In the US, GOP candidates for the governorships of Nevada and Georgia are proposing to follow Florida and outlaw gay adoption. In the UK, where the issue is supposedly settled in law, the church is continuing to fight a rearguard action to have its own agencies exempted. What do all these have in common? Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Parents: Recommended

My regular readers will now that gay adoption rights are a personal, touchy area for me. As a father and grandfather myself, I am acutely conscious that what matters to a child is not the status or orientation of the parent, but the depth of love and the quality of the care. My daughter Robynn has gone on record in stating , on the first occasion, that her experience when living with my partner and myself gave her a more stable emotional environment, and better examples in moral standards, than she saw given to her classmates from more “conventional” backgrounds. Later, she made it clear in a post here at QTC, that we should listen to the voices and experiences of children themselves who have grown up in gay – headed households, before making judgements. Giving her own verdict, she concluded: “Gay parents? I recommend them”.

The issue of gay adoption tends to get less press than same sex marriage, but in many ways has greater importance for long term progress to gay equality and inclusion. Here in the UK , gay adoption is fully accepted in law, but a Catholic adoption agency has just won an important court appeal, granting it exemption from the statutory requirement of equal treatment for all candidate parents. This is a topic I am not yet ready to discuss properly, but will do at some stage. In the US, the situation varies by state, but in only one state, Florida, is there an outright legal ban. There is no sign of this ban being lifted by legislative process any time soon, but meanwhile there have been a string of favourable court decisions, with an important court ruling due any day now. In the meantime, here is another personal story of one child who would clearly agree with Robynn, and recommend gay parents. In his case, he voted with his feet, and actively left his one-mother-one-father version family for a gay single father – and in the process made a huge improvement in his life:

From Palm Beach Post:

Grade-A gay ‘parent’ saved a child from two-parent straight home

James was a bright boy with a dark future looming when he made a decision to change his destiny. Read the rest of this entry »