This House believes homosexuals should be able to adopt.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), same-sex, or gay (for short) adoption is the adoption of children by LGBT parents, either individually, or as a couple. LGBT adoption is a complex legal issue, involving several considerations. 14 states in the world have laws on the books specifically giving gay couples the right to adopt. Several other states have jurisdictions where same-sex couples are legally allowed to adopt, while not having a national law on the issue. For example, several States in the US allow gay couples to adopt, a few specifically prohibit it, and the rest have no specific right or prohibition against it. But there is no federal (nation-wide) law settling the issue for all States. A few other countries, like Finland and Iceland, allow one partner in a same-sex union to adopt the other's biological child. This is especially relevant for lesbian couples where one partner gives birth to the child, gay male couples who use a surrogate with the sperm of one of the partners, and individuals who enter a gay relationship after having or adopting children in a hetereosexual relationship (essentially same-sex step-parent rights). In other countries, gay people may petition individually to adopt, while gay couples cannot. The majority of countries in the world, though, have laws specifically prohibiting adoption by gay couples. In others, like the majority of African states, being gay is in itself illegal, so the point of adoption is moot. Many gay and lesbian couples emigrate from countries where it may be unsafe for same-sex couples to raise a family to those which allow for gay marraige and adoption. Given the multitude of scenarios this debate can cover, it is useful to restrict it to a specific case. The debate usually focuses on the right of gay couples, rather than individuals to adopt children.

Title 
Where same-sex households exist, they should have equal rights as opposite-sex households.
Point 

There are still many ways for gay people to become parents. Some of them are able to pay for a surrogate; some may have a natural child from a previous (heterosexual) relationship and then raise the child with a gay partner. In effect, what this law does is make it impossible for two gay people to have legal rights over a child they may already be raising together. These kids deserve the security of two legally recognized parents. If being raised by gay parents is really that harmful, why would the law allow two gay people to raise a child together as parents but refuse to legally recognize them as such?

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Counterpoint 

Because no democratic government should ever attempt to regulate people's reproductive rights and dictate who is or isn't allowed to have children. And unless a massive harm can be shown to the child, the government usually doesn't take children away from their parents, as that might be more harmful. But the government is allowed to define what a family is or should be, under the law.

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Title 
There is no fact-based evidence for this exclusion.
Point 

The overwhelming majority of scientific studies on this issue have convincingly shown that children raised by gay couples are certainly not worse off than those raised by straight parents1. Some studies have gone as far as to demand that in the face of this evidence, gay bans be ended2. Based on the robust nature of the evidence available, the courts in Florida were satisfied in 2010 that the issue is beyond dispute and they struck down the ban3. When there isn't any scientific evidence to support the differential treatment of one group, it is only based on prejudice and bigotry, which should have no place in a democratic society.

Carey, Benedict. "Experts Dispute Bush on Gay-Adoption Issue". New York Times. 29 January 2005. (accessed 2 August 2011).

Wikipeida. "LGBT adoption status around the world".(accessed 2 August 2011).

Foster Care 1999 Statistics. Adoption.com .(accessed 2 August 2011).

Counterpoint 

The scientific debate is not as settled as proponents of gay rights claim. The studies, while positive in their conclusions, have generally been based on very small samples, not more than a dozen families. Some experts claim that there is also a volunteer bias, with the subjects of these studies usually supportive of the gay rights agenda and therefore keen on reporting positive results. Lastly, the researchers themselves can be biased and willing to find evidence to back a political agenda1.

Parke, Mary. "Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?".Center for Law And Social Policy. May 2003. (accessed 2 August 2011).

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Title 
Gay adoption bans amount to state sponsored discrimination against gay people.
Point 

Discrimination is the practice of treating people differently based not on individual merit but on their membership to a certain group. The adoption bans are a clear example. Rather than assessing gay couples individually, it is simply assumed that they would all make bad parents because they are gay, while straight couples are assessed based on their individual merit. This breaches the fundamental right of all people to be treated equally under the law and it should be stopped. This principle is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; article 1 "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."1 And also many other national and regional legal texts (e.g. The US Constitution,2 The European Convention on Human Rights).

United Nations General Assembly, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights , (accessed 2nd August 2011)

James Madison et al., Constitution of the United States,(accessed 2nd August 2011)

Counterpoint 

States place many restrictions on adoptions. China, for example, does not permit adoptions by couples who are too old, have disabilities or are obese1. It doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with being overweight, old, or disabled. But the Chinese authorities are trying to decrease the likelihood of the adopted child losing a parent before the age of 18, which for these kids can be especially traumatic. If the parents being gay can be shown to be inherently harmful or less desirable for a child than straight parents, then such a ban would not constitute discrimination. It would be a decision based on a relevant and valid criterion.

Belkin, Lisa. "An End to Gay-Adoption Bans?". New York Times. 28 July 2010.(accessed 2 August 2011)

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Title 
Gay people have the right to a family life.
Point 

Getting married and raising a family is considered in most societies one of the most important and fulfilling experiences one can aspire to. It is so important it is considered a human right (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights states "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence."1) It is considered so important for people to be able to become parents that some governments (the UK, for example) fund fertility treatments for couples who are reproductively challenged, and a majority of the population supports that policy2. But members of the LGBT community are stopped from pursuing this human right by repressive and discriminatory laws.

Council of Europe, The European Convention on Human Rights, 4th November 1950,( accessed 2nd August 2011)

Schwartz, John. "Florida Court Calls Ban on Gay Adoption Unlawful". New York Times. 22 September 2010.(accessed 2 August 2011).

Counterpoint 

Just because the government will protect people's right to have a family from outside interference, and will publicly fund the treatment of a medical condition, such as infertility, it doesn't mean the government has to give children to those who don't or are unable to have any in order to protect their right to a family life.

Title 
Gender roles.
Point 

Children raised by gay couples will find it more difficult to learn appropriate gender roles in the absence of male and female role-models. Although not an exact match single parents provide a similar case where there has not been someone of the other gender as a role model. Although the evidence is not nearly as conclusive as is often claimed1 there have been many studies that have shown that two parents from different genders is beneficial to the child in its development2. Similarly it is often claimed that boys develop negative attitudes to study because there are very few male teachers in primary schools3.

Flood, Michael, Fatherhood and fatherlessness, The Australia institute, Discussion Paper Number 59, (November 2003), p.xi ,(accessed 2nd August 2011)

Sarkadi, Anna et al., 'Father's involvemen and children's developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies, ActaPaediatrica, 97 (2008) pp.153-158, p.155 (accessed 2nd August 2011)

Gerver, Richard, 'Lack of male role models a primary concern', The Telegraph, 22nd March 2009, (accessed 2nd August 2011)

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Counterpoint 

These kids won't be completely deprived of models from the opposite sex to their parents'. They will still have contact with grandparents, teachers, friends, etc. But even if they didn't, why would the opposition just assume that gender roles are a valuable thing to learn? Why would we want to teach children to act and think differently based on being a boy or a girl? Parents should help them develop as individuals, based on their own interests and propensities.

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Title 
The government's interest in protecting traditional families.
Point 

Numerous studies have shown that children do best when they are raised by two married, biological parents1. In the case of adopted children that is impossible, but a man and a woman is the best approximation of that family. Since that is the best environment to raise children, the government has to encourage and promote these traditional unions, not undermine them. Allowing gay couples to legally become parents, would legally and socially redefine what a family is and society as a whole may suffer. Children who are adopted already face bullying and exclusion in school because of their difference, placing them in same-sex households will double their exclusion and make their lives much harder than if placed in an opposite-sex household. 

Council of Europe, The European Convention on Human Rights, 4th November 1950 ,( accessed 2nd August 2011)

Counterpoint 

These studies often confuse correlation and causation. The reason why children do best in these unions is not because there is some type of magical component to traditional marriage. It is the quality of the relationship not the form of it that benefits children. The government should encourage people to be stable, committed, loving parents, regardless of their marital status or gender. The stability of a relationship is what causes children to thrive, and it is merely usually correlated to heterosexual marriage, not produced by it. Also, there are more children up for adoption than there are opposite-sex couples willing to adopt, in this sort of a world it is clearly better for children to get out of the foster care system and into a loving home. Gay parents have also faced more discrimination and exclusion than most straight parents, which makes them especially able to help children who feel unwanted or out of place in the world.

Title 
The welfare of the adopted child as the primary concern of the state.
Point 

The focus of this debate should not be on gay rights, but on what is in the best interest of the adopted child. The adoption process' goal is to find the most suitable parents for that child, not to resolve other social inequalities and injustices. Being raised in a traditional family, by a mother and father, is the best environment for a child. Studies have shown that children who are raised by homosexual couples can have problems with substance abuse, violence and 'at risk' behaviour. Therefore the state has the obligation to try to provide the child with that environment.

Counterpoint 

Even if it were true, that the ideal environment for a child is a mother and father, which studies show it isn't, that still wouldn't justify a flat-out ban. Most governments still allow single people to apply for adoption, and even single gay people1. That is because there won't be an 'ideal' family available for every child who needs a home. So other options should be considered. After all, a child is better off with 'non-ideal' parents than with no parents at all. With adoptions, there is generally great demand for babies and toddlers, but older children are generally unwanted2 and end up in foster care until they're 18.

Proposition fails to tell us what studies they are referring to which does leave the question open whether these studies have taken into account other factors such as whether or not the biological parents were drug users. The heritage left by the biological parents needs to be remembered. 

United Nations General Assembly, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights , (accessed 2nd August 2011)

James Madison et al., Constitution of the United States,(accessed 2nd August 2011)

 

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Bibliography 

Katz, David. "China Restricts Adoption Policies". ABC News. 21 Dec. 2006.(accessed 2 August 2011)

Jenkins, Julian. "Public Awareness of Infertility and Views on Provision of NHS treatment".BioNews. 10 July 2003. (accessed 2 August 2011)

Belkin, Lisa. "An End to Gay-Adoption Bans?".New York Times. 28 July 2010. (accessed 2 August 2011)

Farr, Rachel; Forssell, Stephen; Patterson, Charlotte."Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families. Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter?" Applied

Developmental Science.14(3). 2010. (accessed 2 August 2011)

Schwartz, John. "Florida Court Calls Ban on Gay Adoption Unlawful".New York Times. 22 September 2010. (accessed 2 August 2011).

Carey, Benedict. "Experts Dispute Bush on Gay-Adoption Issue".New York Times. 29 January 2005. (accessed 2 August 2011).

Wikipeida. "LGBT adoption status around the world". (accessed 2 August 2011).

Foster Care 1999 Statistics. Adoption.com. (accessed 2 August 2011).

Parke, Mary. "Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?".Center for Law And Social Policy. May 2003. (accessed 2 August 2011).

United Nations General Assembly, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, , (accessed 2nd August 2011)

James Madison et al., Constitution of the United States, (accessed 2nd August 2011)

Council of Europe, The European Convention on Human Rights, 4th November 1950, ( accessed 2nd August 2011)

Gerver, Richard, 'Lack of male role models a primary concern', The Telegraph, 22nd March 2009, (accessed 2nd August 2011)

Flood, Michael, Fatherhood and fatherlessness, The Australia institute, Discussion Paper Number 59, (November 2003), p.xi, (accessed 2nd August 2011)

Sarkadi, Anna et al., 'Father's involvemen and children's developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies, ActaPaediatrica, 97 (2008) pp.153-158, p.155 (accessed 2nd August 2011)

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