Same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt

Maliha Jafri

Religious groups and state courts are struggling with the issue of same-sex couples adopting children. The Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts are seeking an exemption from state anti-bias laws to allow the church to bar same-sex couples from adopting through its social service agencies, while in another state, if my memory serves me right, a judge ruled that the state could not deny a foster care license to a lesbian couple.

Someone has his or her priorities screwed up. The issue should be that children need safe and healthy homes, not that they need both a man and a woman to raise them.

A family can consist of a few common characteristics which include sharing economic responsibility and raising children. An article by the New York Times said that same-sex couples are discriminated against due to their definition of family. The article was about same-sex couples wanting to adopt children and a religious organization not wanting to allow the adoption to take place.

The Roman Catholic bishops of Massachusetts plan to request permission from the state to exclude gay couples as adoptive parents. The Massachusetts governor said on March 13, “They have within their religion the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that children should not be sent into homes without a mother and a father. We’d like them to be able to be true to their religion.”

So who really gets to decide what a family is? And what ever happened to separation of church and state? In most, if not all, religions, marriage is between a man and a woman.

The efforts to ban gays and lesbians from adopting children that are emerging across the country are a second front in the culture wars that began during the Bush campaign, over same-sex marriage.

There are trends in changing families, with adjustments in the wide variety of different kinds of households. Families include parents who are unmarried cohabitants, married-divorced-remarried, single, working parents and racially or ethnically mixed families. These changes are happening because of individual choices or due to economic forces, technological innovations, popular culture, social movements and family policy.

The government constantly passes laws that impact our families in more then one way. With all the great changes come issues of diversity, race, ethnicity, prejudice and discrimination.

One of the characteristics of a family is often the raising of children, so if a couple constitutes family (whether homosexual or heterosexual), then the adoption of a child cannot be banned; however, it varies from state to state.

Florida has banned all gays and lesbians from adopting since 1977. Mississippi bans adoption by gay couples, but gay singles can adopt. Utah prohibits all unmarried couples from adopting.

There are plenty of non-religious organizations that would allow a same-sex couple to adopt. Although gays, lesbians and transgenders are more accepted today with movies such as “Brokeback Mountain,” “A Home at the End of the World” and “Transamerica,” their rights still aren’t too high on the governments’ agenda.

Maliha Jafri can be reached at