The word gay is the term used to refer to same-sex relationships in which two partners from the same sex choose to live together as a married couple. However, though the term has popularly been used to refer to male same-sex partners while their female counterparts go by the name lesbians, it is in broader terms used to refer to both groups of same-sex partners. In this essay, the word gay will be used in reference to the two kinds of relationships. Gay marriages or unions have raised a lot of controversy especially in the Western world where gay activism has been pressing not only for legalization of this type of marital union but also for the legal right to adopt children (Glazer & Descher 18-19; Golombok 3-5).
Gay Child Adoption: There is no Middle Ground
While gay child adoption is not a new phenomenon altogether, because many gay couples have had to adopt children brought into such unions by their partners from previous relationships, the issue of legalizing adoption of children by such couples has ignited anti-gay activists into rigorous campaigns against the same. But pro-gay activists as well as sympathizers have argued that such campaign is steered by the discriminatory attitude that most people have towards gays, rather than any genuine concern towards the children that are being offered for adoption. Many people are of the opinion that the stability of any marital union cannot be determined by the gender of the partners; and argue that many gay couples are known to enjoy very stable relationships and should therefore not be denied the right to adopt children (Child Welfare Information Gateway: Golombok 3-5).
Proper child development requires an environment in which the child is well nurtured and one that is also full of love. Anti-gay activists have continually argued that the kind of environment that children growing up in gay unions are exposed to is not conducive to proper growth or development and that; such children could either be exposed to child abuse and neglect or end up being gay when they grow up. Drug abuse is also one of the common characteristics of gay communities and this exposes children raised up in such unions to drugs. But very many children have suffered abuse and neglect under the care of heterosexual parents some of whom are also drug abusers. Child abuse in whichever type of environment can impair the psychological development of children and should therefore not be used exclusively against gay couples. Many gay couples are also better placed financially than their heterosexual counterparts and are therefore well-able to provide better financial support to the children they adopt. Based on such considerations, gay couples should be allowed to adopt and raise children as long as the union provides a suitable environment for proper child growth and development (Child Welfare Information Gateway).
In the United States of America, there is widespread disparity between states regarding the issue of gay-child adoption whereby some states legally recognize it while others do not. This is a clear indication that prove has been made that gay couples are capable of bringing up healthy children. Besides, all marital unions whether gay or heterosexual have their ups and downs and the issue of raising up children in a conducive environment remains the responsibility of the couple involved. Nevertheless, heterosexual unions have historically formed the family unit which is the basic unit of any society, and gay child adoption is therefore considered a great threat to society. This is because encouraging such a community will reduce natural reproduction and any society that stops re-producing is destined for extinction. The fact that gay couples have to rely on heterosexual unions to produce children for adoption is a clear indication of a community that is highly unstable because of its inability to reproduce (Child Welfare Information Gateway: Golombok 3-5: Glazer & Descher 31-35).
The U.S has tens of thousands of children holed up in various foster homes and eagerly awaiting adoption. Because the law allows single people to bring up children, perhaps gay couples should be allowed to adopt children as a way of decongesting the foster homes and offering such children a good environment to grow up in. But children living in foster homes have always had preconceived ideas of the types of families they would wish to grow up in if the opportunity for adoption arose. Placing such children for adoption by gay couples may cause them psychological distress and subsequently impair their development as well as curtail their happiness. Besides, nature has always dictated that children are born and raised in a father-mother environment. By allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, a lot of children will lose track of the ideal family as well as be exposed to teasing and bullying by their peers which can be very distressing. Children growing up under the care of two mothers or two fathers are also prone to psychological distress as they are left to grow up wondering why their type of families are different from the rest. Such children may also become victims of sex identity; most of them experiencing difficulty in establishing relationships when they grow up and instead ending up being gay. Several scholars and pro-gay activists have however argued that no concrete evidence has been brought forward to prove that children growing up in gay unions will end up being gay. Instead, they argue that anti-gay campaigners only use this is a factor to disqualify would-be gay parents (Golombok 7-9, 23-27)
Gay child adoption may be encouraged on the ground that heterosexual unions have their own share of troubles and due to the fact that single parents are also allowed to bring up children on their own; but the factors opposing child adoption by gay couples greatly outweigh any support towards the same. Because society has always depended upon heterosexual unions for reproduction and continuity, gay relationships and subsequent child adoption will continue to face a lot of resistance from society. Worse still, gay unions are established under the simple need of companionship and since there is little to protect in such relationships, putting children for adoption by such couples may be exposing them to a lot of psychological torture and an uncertain future.
Child Welfare Information Gateway. “Gay and Lesbian Adoptive Parents: Resources for Professionals and Parents.” 2000. Web.
Glazer, Deborah Fand Drescher Jack. Gay and Lesbian Parenting. Philadelphia, PA: Haworth Press, 2001. 18-19, 31-35.
Golombok, Susan. Parenting: what really counts? London, UK: Routledge, 2000.