Monday, November 17, 2003

Same-sex couples and adoption

Got in a debate today with someone at work over whether or not same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt. As far I'm concerned, the only question that need be answered sufficiently for a couple to adopt a child is "Will the couple be able to provide the love, attention, stability and money it takes to raise a child?". Some of the arguments against same-sex adoption from my co-worker:

Argument) It's "unconventional".
Response) Since when is conventionality any sort of factor in determining the ability of a potential parent to raise a child? My parents certainly were unconventional in many ways, and I seemed to have turned out fine. In my opinion, conventionality is some sort of nebulous gray area where my co-worker likes to hide his anti-gay bias from himself.

Argument) It's not "wholesome".
Response) This is nothing more than an attempt to force a set of morals into the adoption process.

Argument) The child would be ridiculed by his/her peers, perhaps causing psychological issues.
Response) I agree that this is a potential problem any couple should consider, but in the end, I believe the same-sex couple should have the right to adopt regardless. I make the following analogy: suppose an interracial couple wants to adopt a child. This child may very well be subject to ridicule by his peers, but in this day and age most people would agree that the protests of a few racist individuals shouldn't stop us from allowing that couple that same rights as other couples.

Argument) It's not "biologically feasible" for a gay couple to have children, so they shouldn't be allowed to adopt.
Response) As far as I know, parents seeking to adopt are not given fertility tests - in fact many of them can't have children of their own, which is why they are interested in adoption in the first place. At this point, my co-worker tried to retreat to some sort of idealized notion of the heterosexual couple to sustain his biologically-based argument, but it's just so far removed from the reality of things it doesn't hold up very well.

Argument) It's not just about the rights of the parents, it's about the rights of the potential adoptee.
Response) This is absolutely true. But until someone can explain to me how being raised by a same-sex couple infringes on the adoptee's rights, I can't really see how this applies. It seems to be the transference of my co-workers own opinion to an orphan - "Well, I wouldn't want to be stuck with gay parents". It a blessing that the adoption process already attempts to filter out those who will not likely to provide for a child financially, or those who do not have a stable home environment, or those with a history of violence or criminal-behavior. That certainly is plenty more protection than a child gets from his biological parents. A related observation: If you would have asked me when I was younger, I do believe at a few points in my life I would have not chosen my own parents!

Perhaps someone out there can enlighten me as to the dangers of same-sex parenting. It just doesn't seem like such a scary proposition to me...

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