5 May 2008

Free to Adopt

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society recently wrote 'A Better Blair Legacy' in the Guardian's Comment is Free. His article focuses on gay couples being allowed to adopt and the bitter battle that ensued to minmise exemptions. In 2002, legislation was introduced which allowed gay couples to adopt. In 2006, the Sexual orientation Regulations, were introduced which protect gay people from discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Similar provisions were introduced on the grounds of religion and belief.

The Churches had demanded exemptions from the Sexual Orientation Regulations, saying that it should not be forced into providing its adoption services to same-sex couples. The Government decided that there could be no exemption but allowed a transitional period for the adoption agencies to adjust their services which would mean they would have to open up their services to gay people, or it would have them taken away. faith-based adoption agencies have just until the end of this year to comply with the law.

Well comment really is free - and some of the comments made in response to the article just show us that legislation alone does not mean that we have achieved equality. There are many comments that children are better off with parents of opposite genders and that ir is shown that they flourish better. References to having a mum and dad being normal and advocacy for gay adoption puts the rights of the parents over the rigts of the child. Gay people being allowed to adopt is even referred to as fashionable social exprimentation.

There are comments in favour of course but the negative comments just show that we still have a long way to go. Lesbians and Gay Men do usually have the capacity to bear children - they are not usually born infertile. They have access to means to biologically produce children if they so desire and are able to. Many who wish to adopt, do so because they want to give a vulnerable child a stable and loving home.

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