Obviously, there seems to be a misconception floating around regarding the LGBT community and the adoption of children. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be seeing Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signing laws that will allow faith-based adoption agencies to cite religious beliefs as reason to not serve potential adoptive parents. In a phone interview, Snyder stated, “This is about making sure we get the largest number of kids in forever families. The more opportunities and organizations we have that are doing a good job of placing people in loving families, isn’t that better for all of us?”
Last year, more than half of state and federal funds for supporting adoption agencies and foster-care services went to faith-based agencies. The problem is that as soon as someone asks for legal permission to cite religious beliefs to deny someone service, we know that they are most likely talking about discriminating against the LGBT community and since these faith based organizations receive the majority of the funding—we know there will be a lot of discrimination going on.
Why should we punish a child and keep them in an extremely damaging system because of your religion? Shouldn’t we be doing what is in the best interest of the child? I think so. This means getting them out of foster care and into a loving home.
According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system in 2012. Without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed 40% had been homeless or couch surfed, nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use and 17% of the females were pregnant.
These numbers are horrid and unacceptable, but they highlight the problem—that we need to get children out of foster care. With that being said, how does refusing to serve potential parents based on religious reasons help these children? It doesn’t. There is a shortage of adoptive parents and many children are falling victim to a system that perpetuates and accepts their failure. A family, whether gay or straight, is better than the foster-care system.
I would argue that gay couples might even be better parents than straight couples. We know that a gay couple can’t “accidentally” have a child. This means that if they want a child, they are going to have to work very hard to adopt one. Not only do they have to defeat the social stigma associated with gay parenting, but they have to endure a lengthy process to adopt a child, which usually takes 3 years on average. According to Lifelong Adoptions, studies have shown the lesbian couples who have children via artificial insemination end up raising well-balanced, well-adjusted kids. It is safe to assume that children adopted by gay and lesbian couples would show the same results.
We live in a time where many children are raised by single parents. Studies have shown these children are more likely to be convicted of a crime, drop out of school, and less likely to become productive members of society. Single-parent studies demonstrate the significance of having two parents in the household and gay couples offer adopted children with two full-time parents. Two good parents are better than one and definitely better than none. A good parent is caring and nurturing, which are characteristics that are present regardless of one’s sexuality or preference of religion.
Finally, you can’t use public funds to impose your religion onto other people. I respect your right to believe what you want, but you cannot force anyone else to agree with you or punish them for not doing so. If you choose to deny service to people based on religious reasons, then be prepared to be sued into oblivion and lose your government funding. People of many different religions or none at all, have contributed money to your organization and you are not allowed to use that public money to discriminate against anyone who does not conform to your religious beliefs.
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