NEW JERSEY COURT DECISION ON GAY PARENTS ADOPTING CHILDREN
A court case ruling in mid-1997-DEC compels the State of New Jersey to allow gay
couples to jointly adopt children who are trapped in their foster care system.
As of 1997-DEC:
||There are about 100,000 children in US foster care systems, but only 20,000 are adopted
annually. There is obviously a lack of adopting homes for the children who are available.
||Most states allow unmarried individuals to adopt.
||22 states allow single gays and lesbians to adopt
||Some states allow unmarried couples (gay, lesbian, mixed-sex) to double adopt. This has
the child adopted by one spouse and later adopted by the other.
||New Jersey is the first state to allow an unmarried couple to adopt a child jointly - at
the same time.
This court decision is one more instance in which gay and lesbian couples are
recognized as equivalent to heterosexual couples.
Family Research Council Comments
Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research
Council, disagreed with the wisdom of the court decision. The FRC is one of the
leading "pro-family" organizations within the religious right. He said that the
"...ACLU-driven decision to treat homosexual and unmarried couples the same as
married couples in adoption considerations is a disaster for children and families."
His reasons were as follows [our comments are appended within brackets]:
||the decision could deny the privilege of adoption to many heterosexual, married
couples. [That is not true at the present, because there is a large surplus of
children available for adoption. In the future, if the supply dried up, then children
would be assigned to the best available couples. This court decision assures that the
children will get the best available parents, not the best available heterosexual parents]
||children should be brought up by a mother and a father [he
apparently would prefer children to continue to be left in foster families rather than be
adopted by permanent parents]
||"thousands of children will forever be denied having mothers."
[And some will have no fathers. But at least, they will have two permanent adoptive
parents, rather than two foster parents].
||a child has the best chance of developing a healthy sexual and emotional
identity if raised by heterosexual spouses. [This is not what studies have shown]
||"Common sense and an overwhelming body of social science data suggest
that children raised outside of one-mother, one-father families are more likely to
experience problems like drug abuse, depression, poor discipline and confused sexual
identity." [That might be "common sense" to Mr. Bauer, but it
disagrees with reality. At the circuit court case in Hawaii
concerning same-sex marriages, all of the witnesses, both for the plaintiffs and the
defense agreed that gay and lesbian couples are as fit [as parents] and loving as opposite
sex couples. It appears that there is no "social science data" which shows the
opposite. Mr. Bauer appears to be either uninformed or unintentionally lying.]
In a press release issued 1997-DEC-18, Robert Knight, the Director of Cultural Studies
of the FRC is quoted as saying: "What homosexual activists are calling a landmark
victory in the battle for 'equal rights' amounts to a landmark defeat for the best
interests of children." He commented that homosexual households are not capable
of :"...providing balanced role modeling for several relationships that are
crucial to the formation of healthy, stable families."
He did not support this belief with references to any studies.
The entire press release expressed concern about gay couples being allowed to adopt
children. In fact, homosexual couples had been able to do this for years. The court
decision merely simplifies the process by allowing the two spouses to adopt a child at the
same time, rather than sequentially. Also, the vast majority of families affected by this
court decision are certain to be led by heterosexual spouses.
||Anon, "Wanted: Caring Parents", Our View, USA Today, 1997-DEC-19
||Gary Bauer, "Families are in danger", Opposing View, USA Today, 1997-DEC-19
||Family Research Council press release, "N.J. Gay Adoption Settlement Undermines
Children's Interests, FRC Says", 1997-DEC-18
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