When a child has already been abandoned by his or her biological parents, why would the state not allow for that child to have a brighter future in the care of a couple who would truly care for him or her? In this view, gender plays a miniscule role in the overall well being of the child. Rather, "The best interests of the child would certainly be advanced in situations lie those presented here by allowing two adults who actually function as a child's parents to become the child's legal parents," (Committee on Sex and Law and Committee on Civil Rights 2004:72). With the concept of legality in terms of a parent-child relationship comes support like no foster parent or orphanage could ever offer. Adoption policies are strict and require parents to meet specific requirements, therefore offering the child the most potential possible. Gay and lesbian couples are no exception and "The advantages which would result from such an adoption include Social Security and life insurance benefits in the event of a parent's death or disability, the right to sue for the wrongful death of a parent, the right to inherit under roles of intestacy and eligibility for coverage under both parents' health insurance policies," (Committee on Sex and Law and Committee on Civil Rights 2004:72). Thus adoption of any kind, including within the context of same sex couples, provides a better future for the child.
In regards to the argument which posits same sex parents some how neglecting the gender specific needs of a child growing up, most research has actually proved otherwise. In fact, many "Same-sex marriage advocates argue that children do not need both a mother and a father, and 'genderless parenting' is just as good or even better than opposite-sex parenting, including because all children are wanted children and don't come into existence by 'accident,'" (Somerville 2007:185). As more and more research proves that gender is more of a social concept than a biological set of innate traits, compared to actual physical sexual make up, the argument that two parents of both gender are needed to provide normal development for a child becomes less sound. Recent "research has shown that same-gender couples are as nurturing and capable of parental obligations as other couples," (Avery et al. 2007:77). Such an idea is backed up by significant research and real studies following the growth and development of children raised within the context of a same sex couple household. To counter the argument that living in a same couple context would somehow stunt or negatively influence a child's life is the fact that growing up in such a situation is known not to affect crucial aspects of the child's own personal behavior and mental state to be affected. Research has found that living with two gay or lesbian parents actually has little impact on the child's later sexual orientation; "Interestingly, researchers found that children and lesbian parents who were open about their family situation endured less embarrassment; moreover, no studies have shown that same-sex couples affect the sexual orientation of their children," (Avery et al. 2007:80). Fortunately, this research has proved that such children can lead normal and healthy lives without the every day influence of both genders working together. As long as the gay or lesbian couple provides the security any child needs in terms of not only financial but also emotional, that child is miles ahead of what he or she would have been if left in an orphanage.
Another factor of the argument that supports the adoption rights of gay and lesbian couples is the beneficial aspects felt on behalf of the adult couple themselves on top of the benefits presented to the child. Adoption allows married couples to enjoy the procreation aspects of marriage, despite being innately unable to procreate themselves (Wardle 2001). It solidifies their position as a couple, with the rights to rear children as they see fit, just as any other couple. In the modern day, where there are so many restrictions placed on gay and lesbian marriages, leading to less legal rights between the couple, legal adoption allows such couples to enjoy some form of normalcy. According to research, "Adults will likely improve their own standard of living, share in responsibility of child-rearing, and have built-in financial support during tough times," (Committee on Sex and Law and Committee on Civil Rights 2004:73). We see in this context that it is not only the child that benefits from such adoption policies and practices, but the two parents as well.
And so, with all evidence plainly laid out, it is clear that gay and lesbian couples should be in no way hindered in their efforts to legally adopt and care for a child. Just as their heterosexual counterparts have such a luxury, so should gay and lesbian same sex couples. Regardless of the religious arguments and the debate that opposes such adoptions based on future damage to the child, gay and lesbian couples can offer millions of orphaned children the luxury of a happy home and truly caring parents. The fact that such a debate even exists makes one truly wonder whether or not that those who oppose same sex adoptions actually have the well being of the child in mind. Wouldn't you choose to live with a loving couple over a loveless orphanage?
Clinton, Kate. (2006). Reading between the Holy lines. The Progressive. 70(5):39.
Committee on Sex and Law and Committee on Civil Rights. (2004). Report on marriage rights for same-sex couples in New York: The Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Lesbian and Gay Rights, Committee on Sex and Law and Committee on Civil Rights. Colombia Journal of Gender and Law. 13(1):70-85.
Severino, Roger. (2007). Or for poorer? How same-sex marriage threatens religious liberty. Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. 30(3):939-945.
Somerville, Margaret. (2007). Children's human rights and unlinking child-parent and unlinking child-parent biological bonds with adoption, same-sex marriage, and new reproductive technologies. Journal of Family Studies. 13(2):179-191.
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