Sunday 8 August 2010

The Fallacy of the Church Push Against Gay Adoption

In Australia, the NSW parliament has a bill before it which would legalise gay adoption. The churches are outraged, and pushing hard against the measure, or asking for special treatment. One Australian church agency is asking for exemption  from the non-discrimination clause. Anglicare argues that adoption should not be about politics and the "rights" of gay couples, but about the best interests of the child.

In Mexico, the Supreme Court this week will follow last’s week’s decision on gay marriage in Mexico City with a consideration of gay adoption (and also gay marriage nationally). In the US, GOP candidates for the governorships of Nevada and Georgia are proposing to follow Florida and outlaw gay adoption. In the UK, where the issue is supposedly settled in law, the church is continuing to fight a rearguard action to have its own agencies exempted. What do all these have in common?

A total absence of evidence.

In California's extended trial over gay marriage, the opponents argued that gay marriage was injurious to children, because kids need "one mom and one dad" - but their own supposed expert witness conceded there was no evidence to support his case. But the “expert” was entirely lacking in academic credentials, and the judge ruled that his evidence was no more than opinion.

In Florida, Bill McCollum then the AG, hired “expert witness” George Rekers at vast expense to argue the case in court. He too is entirely lacking in credentials, and has since become a laughing-stock for his travels with a hired male prostitute. (I am pleased to note that ever sine the Rekers story broke, McCollum’s candidacy for state governor has been going rapidly down the toilet.)   

In Georgia, when Karen Handel was asked by an Atlanta TV reporter why she thought gay parents aren’t legitimate, she replied, “Because I don’t.”

In the UK last year, bishops reacted angrily when Terry Prendergast, a child care professional with strong links to the church, stated that there was no evidence that children are harmed by having same sex parents.

Now, here’s the thing.

I absolutely agree with Anglicare that adoption decisions should be based entirely on the best interests of children, placing them with the best parents available. They should not be based on the supposed rights of gay couples - but nor should they be based on religious dogma. Don't they get it? Sometimes, the best available parents are gay.

Abundant scientific research has shown that.

In the California trial,  Judge Walker carefully considered a mass of scientific evidence, and found that same sex couples are at least as capable as any others of making good parents as any other - and in some cases, are even better. (Even in the animal world, research has shown in some species, same -sex couples make better parents.)

That’s at the global level, for couples in general – but in ability as parents, not all couples are equal. Some opposite sex parents are dramatically less able than the ideal, which  is why some kids come into care in the first place. Some gay couples are better than others.  Nobody is asking that all gay couples be given a “right” to adopt, any more than straight couples have such a right.  All we ask is that we be considered along with other couples, so that children may be placed with the best parents available.

Gay adoption – it’s in the best interests of the child.

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