Anyone who googles "anti-gay adoption" will find scores of websites dedicated to the proposition that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children. These range from commentators equating gay adoption to "sexual abuse'' to news headlines concerning Mitt Romney's flip flops (he was for it and now is against it) and the battles going on in state legislatures to ban it: all in the name of "concern for the children."
Well, we should all be concerned for children and if being adopted by gay couples was injurious to children we should oppose it. But children should also be protected from the actions of ignorant, bigoted, religious fanatics and hypocritical political demagogues who don't give a hoot about children and families (other than their own.)
Fortunately there is some scientific evidence available to decide if children are helped or harmed by gay adoptions. Unfortunately bigots, hatemongers, and hypocritical right-wing politicians are completely immune to being influenced by science.
For those more influenced by facts than fantasy, ScienceDaily on October 18, 2012, published the following article: "Foster Kids Do Equally Well When Adopted by Gay, Lesbian or Heterosexual Parents, Study Suggests." SD always adds "suggests" because science should not be dogmatic.
Here's the deal. UCLA psychologists studied the cases of 82 high-risk foster-care children who were adopted by heterosexual parents (60), lesbian parents (7), and gay male parents (15). The children had an average age of 4 and the parents of 41.
The psychologists assessed the children three times after their adoption-- at 2 months, one year, and two years, and also questioned the parents about any problems. What they found out was that, on average, the children had made real progress in their mental development, their behavior issues (these were high-risk foster children, remember), were stable and the their IQ measurements went up an average of 10 points--"a large increase."
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The lead author of the study said, "The children showed meaningful gains in heterosexual, gay, and lesbian families. Their cognitive development improved substantially, while their behavior problems and social development were stable."
If the opponents of gay adoption had had their way 22 of these children would not have been adopted and would have remained in foster-care institutions (not enough heterosexuals to go around, sorry about that). Those high-risk children may have been denied the positive changes in their lives that they received by means of gay adoption. It is not the children the bigots are interested in. They are only interested in their own agenda and hope to gain their ends by creating and appealing to the prejudices of a misinformed public.
Thomas Riggins is a university lecturer in philosoophy and ancient history and the book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.
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