We have all heard the mantra that a child needs to be raised by both and a mother and afather. The qualities contributed by a man and a woman are each vital to raising a well roundedindividual and therefore the idea of having two mothers or two fathers is simplyunacceptable«right? Well what about no parents? No mother? No father? That child is bound to be well rounded
. So now the real question emerges: Is parental guidance by two parents of thesame sex really more harmful to a child¶s development than no parental guidance at all? In someminds the answer ³NO´ flashes in bright, blinking lights however, there are many, including themajority of Americans, who disagree. Laws banning adoption by gay and lesbian couples exist inmultiple states across the country. These bans do more than prohibit same-sex couples fromstarting families; they sentence children to a lifetime alone in world where plenty of eligibleadoptive parents exist.
Since the dawn of United States history states have been given ³full faith and credit«tothe public arts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state,´ (Constitution 1) via theFull Faith and Credit clause of the constitution. This clause qualifies state officials to makedecisions about various matters not already decided by the federal government. Therefore thisarticle gives states the power to legalize gay adoption. Since it also says that states mustrecognize the judicial proceedings of other states, an adoption by a gay person or couplerecognized in one state must also be recognized in another state, even if said state bans gayadoption. Shockingly, while this right has been clearly stated since the formation of our country,it was not granted until the Adar v. Smith court case of 2010 (Lambda 1).
The legal status of gay adoption varies across the country. Few are still outright banningit yet there are also few that fully accept it. Most states are ambiguous to the matter. Currentlycausing the most controversy over the issue is Florida- the only state that bans gay adoption of any kind, not just by couples. In affirming the law allowing this ban a federal court in Floridaclaimed that ³three HIV-infected children being raised by a gay man (who had been namedfoster father of the year) were better off in a home with two married, heterosexual parents,´(Sanchez 2). The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU is fighting passionately to get this ban repealed.Other states with laws forbidding gay adoption include Utah which prohibits adoption by"a person who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage,"(Sanchez 3). In Arkansas a law was approved to ban anyone co-habitating outside of a validmarriage from being foster parents or adopting children. Although the law could apply toheterosexual couples, it is believed to be targeted at gay couples due to the fact that same-sexmarriage is prohibited in that state, thereby making an adoption impossible. Single gay men andwomen are still allowed to adopt in Arkansas. Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Michigan also bansome forms of gay adoption.
Until the 1970s, only middle-class, white, married, infertile couples in their late twentiesto early forties who were free of any significant disability were allowed to adopt. Since then,alterations have been made to allow lower class, disabled, and single people to adopt. Manyagencies realized that these groups of people were just as well qualified as any other to raisechildren and that placing a child should be done on a case by case basis without excluding entire groups of people (ACLU 1). If changes could be made for these groups who is to say that thingscan¶t change for gays and lesbians? Recent studies in social science have provided evidence thathomosexuals are no less fit for parenting than heterosexuals (ACLU 1) meaning the exclusion of this group would only result in reducing the number of loving homes for the...