Do you know what it feels like to be discriminated against? Most of us have experienced that sensation at some point in our lives, and although society has changed over time, some people still are prejudiced towards certain groups. For instance, there are certain taboos regarding homosexuals; especially about their ability to bring up children. How are members of those groups supposed to feel about the biases held against them? Discrimination is discrimination; no matter what word you use in place of “homosexuals.”
Some conditions have been established on gay or lesbian parents as requisites to conceding them the custody of children; many of those start from prejudices and stereotypes regarding the “gay lifestyle” which is often viewed by society as immoral. Instead of speculating, it is important to take into account the interests of children and be aware of the fact that good parenting has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and for this reason, gay couples should not be excluded from adopting infants.
First of all, and as indicated by the American Psychological Association, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents. Lesbian and gay couples conduct their lives in the same way that heterosexual parents do. Gay couples have to struggle to offer support to their families; they have the same responsibilities as straight parents do, and they also have to work hard to raise and give their children the guidance that they need to be honest citizens. Based on this, the declaration of parental inability and the denial of custody to homosexual parents should require more convincing evidence of immoral acts or emotional instability. Also, the sexual orientation should not be the only basis on which the reliability of adoptive applicants is established.
It should be recognized that sexual orientation and the ability to take care of a child are two different things. I don’t believe that the sexual preference of prospective parents has an impact on whether a person will be a good parent or not; such aptitude is influenced by the parents’ ability to provide a loving home with all the conditions that a child needs to have a normal growth. For this reason, sexual orientation may only be considered when it seems to negatively affect the child’s welfare. The family interests of homosexual couples are basically no different from those of heterosexual couples; consequently, homosexual couples should be viewed as having a relationship capable of legal recognition with simultaneous legal rights and principles.
Second, children of gay parents develop just as well as children of straight couples do. According to the American Psychological Association, “not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” Supported by the evidence, it can be said that there are no significant differences between children with gay parents and those with heterosexual parents. As suggested by the American Psychological Association, home environments with homosexual parents are as apt to effectively support a child’s progress as are home environments with both straight parents. There is also no evidence to indicate that children of homosexual couples are less intelligent, suffer from more problems or lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual parents. Furthermore, there are no facts to prove that the psychological health and emotional welfare of children raised in gay or lesbian families are badly affected in any way.
In fact, available research on the psychological wellbeing of children raised in such families points out that little differences exist in the overall mental health of children raised in homosexual households. It also states that the quality of parenting, not the parents’ sexual orientation, is the most crucial factor for a child’s healthy growth and development. Based on all this, the belief of many people that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer deficits in personal development has no valid foundation. On the other hand, many people believe that children having homosexual parents grow up to be gay, but studies on this field have confirmed that children of gay couples are equally likely than children of straight parents to be gay themselves. In reality, most gay people are born from straight parents; which shows that sexual orientation cannot be something children learn from their parents and is not determined by one’s family.
Finally, the interests of children are crucial. As said by a researcher of lesbian and gay parenting, “things such as a stable home, emotional support and loving parents who will care for the children in an appropriate manner are most important.” The goal of adoption is supposed to make sure that the child has a permanent home, with adults who have the skills to be good parents. This principle seems to be violated every time a child’s custody is denied to couples who can actually provide favorable conditions that include adequate shelter, food, schooling, love, and all the benefits dedicated to the security and welfare of an infant.
Moreover, at the same time that a critical shortage of adoptive parents exists, there are thousands of homeless and orphan children waiting to be adopted. Yet, lots of infants are taken away from their parents just because of their sexual inclination. In those cases, the discriminatory adoption policies apparently go against both the children and adults’ constitutional rights to equal protection, privacy, intimate association and family integrity.
Although nobody really has the right to adopt children, children do have the right to have a family; a family whose definition certainly changes depending on people’s beliefs and education. It’s true that a child’s custody cannot be given to all applicants no matter they are straight or gay; some gay parents are unfit to adopt children in the same way that some heterosexual parents are. Nevertheless, gay couples should not be deprived from adopting children as long as they prove to be fit parents. Being a biological parent doesn’t mean that a person is oriented to the best interest of a child, but still, biological parents have more rights just because they are natural parents.
There is absolutely no reason to deny lesbians and gay men the joy of parenting, as well as to deny the thousands of children who are in need of a good, affectionate, nurturing home, loving parents. It can be proved that this deprivation is seldom founded on lack of ability, but is instead usually based on the majority’s perception of homosexuality as contrary to nature and morality. In order to provide a good home to the thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted and based on their best interests, it is necessary to eliminate the stereotypes, fears, taboos and misconceptions that prevent custody and adoption proceedings involving gay and lesbian parents. People cannot judge others only based on their personal feelings about somebody else; it is necessary to really recognize the merits of the prospective parents regardless their sexual orientation even if we don’t agree with it.
Children need more love in this world and it doesn’t matter who give it.
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