- What core social values are most challenged by legalized gay adoption?
In my opinion, the core social values that are most challenged by legalized gay adoption are that children should be adopted exclusively by heterosexual couples. In 2013, conservatives such as Rick Santorum said that adopted children would be better off being adopted by a family whose father is in prison than a gay, married couple ( Pappas, 2012). Pope Benedict used his voice for religion to say that gay couples adopting children are a threat to humanity itself (Pappas, 2012). The core values that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and, that parents are heterosexual were challenged when gay adoption was legalized.
- How have these “values” been defined and reinforced?
These “values” have been defined by conservatives and the men and women of religion. Frequently, conservatives and religious figures of authority take every opportunity to reinforce these “values” by mis-stating facts and figures. They purposely manipulate data to back up their false claims.
A three decade study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that children that are adopted by gay parents are doing as well as, if not better than children adopted by heterosexual couples (Siegel, 2013). The study concludes that it is the parents’ competence and their ability to provide a loving, secure home for adopted children that contributes to the adopted children’s social, academic and overall well being (Siegel, 2013). If conservatives and religious figures were using facts such as these, they would not be able to substantiate their false claims.
- Assuming these values are changing, at least for some individuals or societies, how have experts explained or described the change?
It took a very long time for the adoption of children to be legalized selectively by some states. Now the challenge is to work through all the stereotypes that cloud what really happens to children when they are adopted by gay parents. In Illinois, agencies were purposely placing children with special needs with gay parents (BU.edu, 2012). The prejudice remains that gay parents represent “undesirable” parents. In reality, more than half the children adopted by gay parents have special needs (BU.edu, 2012).
- How has your personal view of “the family” changed over your lifetime?
“The family” is an ever-evolving human dynamic. During my lifetime, I have seen inter-racial marriages become a bit more accepted. And recently, I have witnessed the civil liberties issue of our decade: gay marriage. In the 1960’s, civil liberties were about equality for all. Now I see that our current civil liberties issues are about equality for all marriages. Since this has changed and continues to, it is not surprising that more gay couples are adopting children. It’s interesting that gay couples are choosing to be parents through adoption; or by being foster parents; or via artificial insemination. It is a choice, not an accident. For those lucky children, their family is about wanting to nurture and support a healthy family. It is clear that some heterosexual couples find themselves in the role of “accidental parent” and, resent their children for being in this position.
- Supporters and opponents of gay adoption both claim to have children’s best interests at heart. Which do you think is in the best interest of children: banning or permitting their adoption by gay parents? Why?
A loving family with competent parents is in the best interest of children. Based on the evidence presented by many studies, including the one conducted by the AAP, children of gay parents are in homes where they feel secure, loved and as a result are well adjusted socially, emotionally and intellectually. Their gay parents chose to have them as their children and this effects the best interest of the children.
Perrin, E., & Siegel, B. (2013). Promoting the well-being of children whose parents are gay or lesbian. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/4/e1374.full
Pappas, S. (2012, January 15). Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/17913-advantages-gay-parents.html
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bu.edu/today/2013/gay-parents-as-good-as-straight-ones/