Saturday, February 10, 2007

Adoption, When 'Discriminating' Makes Perfect Sense and Gender is Relevant

The United Kingdom is about to repeat the ill-treatment of the Catholic Church pioneered in Boston. The government of the UK may effectively shut down the nation-wide Catholic adoption services rather than grant a religious exemption to the new law requiring equal treatment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Archbishop of Canterbury along with the Muslim Council of Britain have both stated their support of the Roman Catholic Church.

The churches are correct: non-discrimination in adoption is an adult-centred policy, despite its supporters’ best efforts to depict it as child-centred. The demand that every adoption agency in the UK take no notice of sexual orientation is irrational and incoherent.

The best pro-child argument that proponents have is the claim that children are better off with gay couples than “languishing in foster care”. Notice the tacit admission that gay couples are not the first choice: the first choice is heterosexual, stable, married couples, who are simply too few in number to meet the needs of all the children.

But this claim, even if true, does not justify the new British policy. British law does not permit adoption agencies to line up prospective adoptive parents in order of desirability, and then work its way down the list until all the adoptable children have been allocated. No. Non-discrimination law insists that neither marital status, nor sexual orientation, can even be considered as a factor in placing children with adoptive parents. Besides, Catholic adoption agencies handle about a third of all adoptions of children considered difficult to place.

There are circumstances in which same sex adoption should not be prohibited, including private adoptions and some second party adoptions. Adoption by same sex couples related to the child, when no other suitable relative is available may be the best situation for a particular child.

But these limited circumstances are quite different from the generalised “right” that the state should not discriminate against same sex couples in placing its wards for foster care or adoption. The state absolutely should discriminate in favour of opposite sex, married couples. It is utterly irrational for the state to pretend that there are no differences between opposite sex married couples and cohabiting couples or single individuals or same sex couples. To ban such discrimination by otherwise responsible and reputable private adoption agencies is more than irrational. It is an indefensible violation of the freedom of those private agencies.

The homosexual activists and their allies in the British government evidently hold that gender is an irrelevant category for parenting. They apparently believe that there is no unique contribution of either gender to anything that matters to the well-being of children. But if men and women were really perfect substitutes, the very idea of sexual orientation would make no sense.

Read the rest at

You can't have it both ways. Either gender makes a difference or it doesn't -- and if it makes a difference to adults, it also makes a difference to kids...