Why I Am (Probably Not) Opposed To Gay Adoptions

by Jake Quinn

Brian Edwards kicks off quite a debate with his thought provoking post titled Why I Am Opposed To Gay Adoptions, which comes as a response to calls earlier this week by acting head judge of the Family Court Paul von Dadelszen that gay couples should be allowed to adopt.

Brian writes:

I am opposed to any change in the law which would allow gay couples to adopt children. My opposition is not rooted in homophobia… My opposition to allowing gay couples to adopt is rooted in my own early experience as the only child of a solo parent, my mother. I never knew my father.

Brian’s post is worth reading in full.  Even if you fully support gay couples’ rights to adopt you cannot help but agree with a number of the points he makes.  The post challenged my own view which generally falls into the category of supporting homosexual peoples’ rights to do, well, everything that the rest of us are legally entitled to do.

So I responded: Hi Brian, I think it is possible to agree with the core sentiment of your article, that it’s undoubtedly best for kids to have both a male and a female role model in their lives, but still find it unsettling that, by law, gay couples cannot adopt – it seems that gay couples wanting to adopt are prima facie being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.

In not allowing gay couples to adopt the law is making a value judgment about gay peoples’ ability to legally fulfill the obligations of being parents (the legal requirements we would imagine are somewhat lower than the ideal moral standards we all make about “what might be best”).

Surely there are ways to reconcile these two views (that gay couples should not be legally stopped from adopting, but that having both a male and a female role model is best)?

Just one option for the sake of debate would be legislating a set of criteria which potential adopters have to measure up against in order to be eligible to adopt, such as clean criminal record, evidence of a stable loving relationship, the presence of ongoing male and female role models. Therefore the ball would be in the court of all couples to show they could provide these things regardless of their sexual orientation.

I imagine (having no experience – at all – of my own) that there are non-conventional ways to raise kids, not all of which involve one man and one woman. I imagine there are people out there happily raised by their mother and their grandfather. Who’s to say mum, her girlfriend and grand pappy can’t make the perfect team?

I’ll finish with this gem from a friend’s facebook comments thread:

I think that, on average, a stable gay couple would make better parents than a welfare mum with three or four children from different fathers. The kids would dress better for a start.

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