Gay Adoption Obstacles

A new Arizona law echoes antigay sentiment when it comes to raising kids

Gov. Jan Brewer in Arizona signed a new measure into law this week that gives heterosexual couples preference in adoptions. Senate Bill 1188 applies to both state-funded and private adoption agencies. This makes the second state (along with Utah) to give priority to opposite-sex couples. Other states – including Virginia – go even further and ban gay couples and individuals from adopting children entirely.

Equality Arizona, an LGBT rights group, has criticized the new law, saying, “The governor’s action today is harmful to children in foster care and group homes who are seeking a permanent home and the support of a loving, caring family,” the Arizona Republic reports.

The law also puts politics exactly where it doesn’t belong: into the realm of social service where same-sex couples will end up having a much more difficult time being seriously considered as adoptive parents even in situations where it may be in the best interest of the child.

“Adoption authorities may have the choice between placing a child with a beloved single aunt, or complete strangers,” says Equality Arizona. “The only consideration should be determining what’s in the best interest of the child.”

Trouble is, discrimination has clouded the picture despite reports that show that same-sex couples consistently raise happy, smart, well-adjusted children. Next to banning gay marriage and same-sex civil unions, it’s one of the most significant disadvantages of LGBT discrimination – and an issue that has the power to set a dangerous precedent when it comes to the future (fair or not) of gay rights in the U.S.

While there are certainly gay-friendly adoption agencies that have been helping same-sex couples and individuals adopt children for years, as states like Arizona legislate laws that impact what many of these private and public agencies are capable of providing, gay adoption will become more of an uphill struggle for prospective lesbian and gay parents.

It comes down to unfounded and itrrational fears. Because if parents could really dictate their children’s sexuality, then how does anyone explain how many gay and lesbian kids are raised in heterosexual homes?