Tag Archives: gay adoption

Swiss edge closer to gay adoption

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament, the Council of States, decided on Wednesday by 21 votes to 19 to give same-sex couples the right to adopt children.
The Council determined that anyone should be able to adopt a child, regardless of their choice of lifestyle, so long as such adoption would be in the best interests of the child, Swiss news agency SDA reported.
In addition, although the type of marriage would not be a determining factor, applicants seeking to adopt must be in some form of registered partnership.
Those in favour of the change in regulations have pointed to the changing face of family dynamics, and the reality that many children do not grow up in what would be considered “traditional” family constellations.
Urs Schwaller of the Christian Democratic Party said that, while he did not doubt that gay and lesbian people could take of children as well as heterosexuals, there was in his view no need to give them rights to adopt, gay information website GGG.at reported.
Conservative politicians are concerned that the rights of registered partnerships are becoming increasingly aligned to those of traditional marriages, gradually eroding the status of marriage. Schwaller maintained that this is not what the Swiss people want, the website reported.
The lower house, the National Council, must now consider the motion before it can pass into law.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Same-sex adoptions nod for Tasmania

“TASMANIA will allow same-sex couples to adopt local and overseas children under proposed changes to the state’s adoption laws.
At present, only married couples have full rights under adoption laws in Tasmania.
The proposed amendment has angered the conservative Christian Lobby as the group deems a mother-father relationship the best for raising children. Gay and lesbian rights advocates, however, argue a loving and secure family is best for children regardless of the gender of parents.
The move will allow same-sex couples and de facto couples who are registered under the Relationships Act to adopt an unknown child, whether locally or from overseas.

 

-full report at The Mercury

At present, the law only allows same-sex couples to adopt children who are “known” to them such as stepchildren or relatives.

The amendment will allow same-sex couples to adopt “unknown” children who have been relinquished by their birth parents and are available for adoption to suitable parents.”

‘via Blog this’

Penguin (Gay) Parenting: Lessons for Gay Adoption

A few months ago, the Toronto Zoo was in the news, taking flack for a decision to separate two male penguins who had formed a pair bond.

In China, the authorities at a zoo in northern China have taken the opposite approach.  When they saw that a male pair had been attempting to steal eggs, they took the obvious, rational, decision. They identified a chick in need of parents, and set up an adoption.

While zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo were quick to separate Buddy and Pedro for mating purposes, keepers at Harbin Polar Land embraced their eccentric penguins by not only giving them a same-sex wedding ceremony worthy of Leslie Knope but also providing them with their very own baby chick to care for.
Adam and Steve had a history of stealing eggs from more-traditional couples during hatching season. So when keepers noticed a mother of recently hatched twins struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give Adam and Steve the baby they were looking for.
While it might seem, well, different for a penguin chick to have two male parents, in fact, all penguins are known to have natural instincts for parenting, as males and females equally share in the responsibility to incubate and care for their chicks, before and after they’re born. For this reason, keepers at Harbin Polar Land  
Read morenewsfeed.time.com
Ignore the “wedding” – that’s just an obvious, gimmicky PR stunt. There are more important lessons here.

First, there is the simple fact that same – sex pairing and sexual behaviours are common in all branches of the animal kingdom. The keepers at Toronto Zoo justified their decision by arguing that the two males had paired only because their were no females available, but this common explanation for animal homosexuality is false. The published scientific research makes it clear that while animal same – sex behaviour may be more common in the artificial conditions of captivity, it also occurs widely in purely natural conditions. (For some species, and for some animals, it may be more common than heterosexual mating).

The parenting impulse is common to all species, and is not restricted to opposite – sex couples. The Chinese penguins’ attempts to steal eggs has been widely observed among same – sex bird pairs of many species, just as many human couples, of any sexual orientation, may seek to adopt when they are unable to conceive themselves.
The Chinese zookeepers  “are confident that Adam and Steve’s chick will grow up to be just like its penguin peers”. They have good reason to be. The empirical evidence from the animal world is that the parenting abilities and success rates for same – sex couples are no worse than for opposite – sex couples, and sometimes better: exactly the same as the findings from empirical research on human gay and lesbian parents.
The commonly repeated argument around gay adoption that it should not be about the equal rights of gay parents, but about the best interests of the child, is sound. Only the usual conclusion is false. The best interests of the child require that s/he be placed with the best available adoptive parents, who just might happen to be a same-sex couple.
In northern China, one penguin chick’s mother was struggling to raise it. The best available adoptive parents were the pair named by the keepers Adam and Steve. Lucky chick, to have found suitable adoptive parents.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Gay adoption, New Zealand: It "will happen" -Shelley Bridgeman

“A recent Herald-DigiPoll survey found that 54 per cent of people think gay couples should be allowed to adopt children while 36 per cent disagreed. Two years ago a Herald website poll had 41 per cent in favour and 59 per cent against, according to Derek Cheng’s article Majority back gay adoption.
Our collective attitudes towards the rights of gay people are clearly becoming more liberal. Most of us see this as a simple human rights issue. The fact that adopting a child isn’t an option for same-sex couples is discriminatory and doesn’t sit well with our aims of achieving an egalitarian society.”

full report at NZ Herald News 

New Zealand: Majority back gay adoption

A majority of (New Zealnd) voters support changing the law to allow gay couples to adopt children, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey.
Labour and the Greens have pushed the rights of gay people as an election issue, but the National Party has sidelined them as not a priority.
Adoption in New Zealand is governed by the Adoption Act 1955, and Labour and the Greens say the law needs of an update.
More than half – 54.3 per cent – of the poll respondents said the law should be changed to allow gay couples to adopt children, 38 per cent disagreed, and 7.7 per cent did not know or refused to answer.

Green MP Kevin Hague

Green MP Kevin Hague, who has started a cross-party group to find political consensus on gay issues, said the result was pleasing.
“It’s great to see that most New Zealanders now support this, and I’m confident that once it’s in place, that majority will increase even more.
“What should be at the centre of adoption laws is putting the interests of the child first. To do that you’ve got to have all the options on the table.”

Number of gay couples who adopt tripled over last decade

The number of gays and lesbians adopting children has nearly tripled in the last decade despite discriminatory rules in many states, according to an analysis of recent population trends.
“It’s a stratospheric increase. It’s like going from zero to 60,” said Miami attorney Elizabeth Schwartz, who has coordinated more than 100 adoptions for gay and lesbian families in the last year. “I think many really dreamed of doing this but it wasn’t something they ever thought would become a reality.”

About 21,740 same-sex couples had adopted children in 2009, up from 6,477 in 2000, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. About 32,571 adopted children were living with same-sex couples in 2009, up from 8,310 in 2000. The figures are an analysis of newly released Census Bureau estimates.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Denying gay marriage hurts the children

“All families need to be treated equally, for the sake of the children.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is a treaty that enjoys almost universal support, having been ratified by 193 countries, including Australia. It provides that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration.
Contrary to Nicholas Tonti-Filippini’s assertion on this page yesterday, a proper application of the principle of the best interests of the child leads to the incontrovertible conclusion that Australia should legalise same-sex marriage.”

Read the full opinion at Sydney Morning Herald

‘via Blog this’

A look at gay adoption

“It has become almost impossible to get from cover to cover in an LGBT magazine without being confronted by advertisements that claim to assist the community in creating a family. Countless services declare their ability to make the process not only seamless, but also, in their glossy spreads, glamorous. Photographs of cute, giggling babies veil the serious side to starting a family.
And what are these advertisements offering? Rarely adoption. These agencies want to make money. Purchase a womb in the form of a surrogate, purchase some sperm, purchase a turkey baster (or rather, ‘insemination kit’); purchase pretty much anything one needs to create a baby. What gets forgotten, however, is the option of starting a family with a child that already exists. There is a danger of people who read these magazines getting the impression that adoption no longer happens. The gay press undoubtedly has a responsibility to recognise the fact that, due to their need for revenue, they are in danger of becoming responsible for a trend in expensive surrogacy and co-parenting arrangements when there are a great many children in care who need to be adopted. It is a particularly important issue to address, when the process is now simpler than ever for gay people.
Read the full report at So So Gay

The Fall of Rome, Reality Based History – and Gay Adoption

The vocal opponents of family equality are fond of making sweeping statements (in flagrant disregard of the evidence) about how marriage has “always” been between one man and on woman, how the proponents of equality are “redefining” evidence, quite ignoring the ways in marriage has been constantly redefined in the past – not least by the Christian churches. A variation on the theme has been that homosexuality has destroyed great civilizations, such as that of Rome. Illinois state Rep. Ronald Stephens has repeated this claim, blaming “open homosexuality” for the fall of Rome.
In a fun, sane response in the Chicago Sun-Times, Neill Steinberg dismisses the claim, basing his response on, well, historical fact, not what he calls Stephens’ talking points. His most important observation is that the best known extensive study of the fall of Rome, Edward Gibbons “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“, concluded that Roman civilization collapsed not because of homosexuality, but because of – guess what? Christianity.

Would that be a argument to ban Christianity today, for fear that it could cause the collapse of modern Western civilization?

The point I want to make is not that Gibbons was either right or wrong, but to heartily endorse Steinberg’s larger point, that grand claims about the lessons of history really ought to be checked against the facts. This is certainly true in the secular sphere, but also in religious discourse. The often -repeated Vatican claims of Catholic “constant and unchanging tradition” are a smokescreen, often used to used to hide the importance of recently introduced changes, as Martin Pendergast noted recently, writing about gradualism in Benedict’s theology.

But today, I do not want to explore this theme of the Church’s constantly changing tradition. Let’s just enjoy, instead, Steinberg’s thoroughly delightful response to rep Stephens’ ignorance. Here are some extracts:

Ignorance is the great engine of human misery, the fertile field where its fruit, hatred, grows in all its awful forms, from the first human, crouching on a dark savannah, screeching terrified defiance at a shape silhouetted on the horizon, to Rep. Ronald Stephens, rising to his feet in the Illinois House, blaming “open homosexuality” for the fall of Rome.

….the Roman Empire — even lopping off the first 700 years, from Rome’s founding to Julius Caesar — lasted 500 years.

We should only fall so quickly.


Let us consult Edward Gibbon, whose classic The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire isn’t read in high schools, at least not Downstate, apparently, the way it once was.
Gibbon puts the blame — and this really is too delicious — not on homosexuality, but on Christianity, which he says made the Roman population more worried about their place in heaven than about barbarians at the gate.
“I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion,” Gibbon concludes, famously, in his epigram.

What were they like – The barbarians who sacked Rome were not only a bunch of lazy Teutonic drunks, according to Gibbon, who only cared to conquer Italy because beer, while “sufficient for the gross purposes of German debauchery,” wasn’t good enough for “those who had tasted the rich wines of Italy and . . . sighed for that more delicious species of intoxication.”

To top it off, the Huns, unlike Rome’s Christian emperors, were not on the anti-gay bandwagon, but practiced a warrior homosexuality, according to some scholars.
That’s right – a “warrior homosexuality”, just like so many other militaristic societies, where male love in the ranks was par for the course, if not obligatory. So much for the DADT argument that accepting gay soldiers would weaken military effectiveness.
All this is fun stuff – but he is softening us up for a really important point – that attacks on the queer community are frequently made by accusing us of the crimes and failings of our opponents. This is most clearly illustrated in the case of adoption. Whereas the opponents are loud in their insistence that all children need both a mother and a father, and that only a  mother and a father can offer the required degree of love and care – the overwhelming majority of children needing adoptive parents do so precisely because they have been let down by their own biological mom and pop.

Look at gay adoption, long opposed by the faithful on the premise that gays shouldn’t be allowed around children, even their own.

Where did all these kids in need of adoption come from – Oh right, that would be from heterosexual couples who so completely failed their children that they were seized by the state. And what about the gays who want to adopt them – Any equal fault, any evidence that they provide less of a home than any other adoptive family – Here’s a hint: No.

But just in case any reader mistakes his argument for a reason to abandon the Christian faith, he closes with a final reminder:

The truth is that societies are complex; all have good and bad qualities. I can savor the wit and intelligence of Roman times while recognizing that they were slave-owners capable of the most staggering cruelties. To fault Ancient Rome for coddling gays is like blaming the Nazis for bad civic art.
That Christianity has been a scourge to gays is without doubt. The question now: Is that intrinsic to the faith – Given the many — gay and straight alike — who say it is not, who focus on the love, tolerance, grace, and human dignity that Christianity offers, those who insist it must be and flail against gay citizens are reading from an uncorrected text.
Related articles

What Constitutes a “Family”? Empirical Study Finds A Wider View

Religious conservatives are regularly referring to the “traditional family” as a foundation for their beliefs, but there is no such thing. The conservative interpretation of the so-called traditional family is  a relatively modern invention, created to fit the conditions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Western Europe and North America. In earlier times, and other parts of the world. family structures varied enormously from  this particular model.
Family history, like all other history, is constantly changing to fit new circumstances, so it should be no surprise that conceptions of family in the twenty first century are continuing to evolve, to fit a world that is no longer what it was in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some of these changes are obvious, but like so much that is familiar, can easily be “hidden in plain sight.” A new study by sociologist  Brian Powell brings this into plain view. (His study is specifically of American views, but with the emergence of a shared world culture, many of his findings will also have relevance across a much wider geographic region.)
The central finding is that people no longer define “family” as mom pop and kids, but also include   same-sex couples with children (Children seem to be central: childless couples, gay or straight, are not seen as “families”, but just as couples). However, there is an increasing movement towards acceptance. An important finding, familiar from previous studies on the subject, is that people who know gay people (more accurately, who recognize that people they know are gay), are more supportive than those who are not aware that family members or acquaintances are gay. This simply reinforces the necessity for the wider political struggle, that wherever possible, gay men and lesbians should come out openly, in as many contexts as possible. Coming out personally will improve acceptance in our circles of friends and family. Politicians and other public figures who come out   do so indirectly for the wider community.
I particularly liked an argument on gay adoption that I have been using regularly: framing arguments in terms of the “the best interests of the child” can work to our advantage, not those opposed to gay adoption. (In adoption considerations, the best interests of the child require placement with the best parents available. Sometimes, they will be gay).  Indeed, the claim made (but not elaborated on in the reports I have seen), is that the interests of children may well be a more effective argument than others in making the case for more general equality of same-sex couples.

A majority of Americans now say their definition of family includes same-sex couples with children, as well as married gay and lesbian couples.

At the same time, most Americans do not consider unmarried cohabiting couples, either heterosexual or same-sex, to be a family — unless they have children.

The findings — part of a survey conducted this year as well as in 2003 and 2006 by Brian Powell, a sociology professor at Indiana University, Bloomington — are reported in a new book, “Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family,” to be published on Wednesday by the Russell Sage Foundation. Since the surveys began, the proportion of people who reported having a gay friend or relative rose 10 percentage points, said Professor Powell, the book’s lead author.

“This is not because more people are gay now than in 2003,” he said. “This indicates a more open social environment in which individuals now feel more comfortable discussing and acknowledging sexuality. Ironically with all the antigay initiatives, all of a sudden people were saying the word ‘gay’ out loud. Just the discussion about it made people more comfortable.”

The book concludes that framing the equality of same-sex couples in terms of “the best interests of the child” might prove to be a more successful political argument than others.