Gay adoption has been a controversial issue for the USA and the rest of the world for long years. However, some countries and a few American states including Florida, have recently removed the ban on gay adoption. Nevertheless, the debates over the question whether this practice is appropriate for the society are still on. Thus, the aim of this paper is to discover the history of gay adoption in the world, the USA, and Florida. Pro and contras for the legalization of gay adoption in Florida are also analyzed in the essay.
The History of Gay Adoption
Gay adoption existed since early age. The Roman Emperor Hadrian was one of the first gays to adopt a child. After 476 A.D., when the Roman Empire collapsed, no European legal codes included data about gay adoption. Gay adoptions were happening in the form of informal arrangements in pre-modern Christian civilizations. In the Victorian era, gay couples were disguising themselves, although the gay adoptions continued to take place (Margolis, 2010).
Gay adoption became an open issue only about half a century ago when gays started fighting for their rights (Montana, 2009). Gay activism began in 1867 in Europe, and in 1950s in the USA. However, the open talks about removing anti-gay laws and granting them the right to adopt children started only in 1970s (Margolis, 2010).
Adoptions were different for gay men and lesbians throughout the history. However, even now adoption is more complicated for gay men (Montana, 2009).
The Development of Gay Adoption in the USA
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The variation of laws for adopting children by gay people depends on a state. Moreover, the conditions are different for gay couples and single gay people (Johnson, 2008). Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Oregon, and the District of Columbia were the first states to eliminate the ban on gay adoptions (Delaney, 2010). Currently, there are 18 states and D.C., which allow adoptions by gay couples (Ford, 2012). Gay couples are explicitly banned from adopting children in Utah and Mississippi (Delaney, 2010). There are 12 states that allow gay adoption only in the case of second-parent adoption, which means that one same-sex partner adopts the other partner’s biological child (Ford, 2012). Additionally, there are some states that have uncertain laws on gay adoption. It leaves the final decision at every single case to be made by state judges (Saenz, 2012).
Nowadays, gay adoption is quite a common practice in the USA. The amount of children, adopted by gay parents, is four percent of all adopted children in the USA. The same index for foster children in gay families is three percent of all foster children in the country (Gates et al., 2007).
The History and Development of Gay Adoption in Florida
Florida was one of the last states in the USA to allow gay adoption. Florida was openly denying gay adoption claiming it not to be the best interest of the child (Montana, 2009). Although the laws in Florida strictly prohibited gay couples to adopt a child since 1977, the ban was revoked in 2010 (Saenz, 2012).
The history of banning gay adoption in Florida started in 1977, when Anita Bryant’s together with other political and religious activists like Jerry Falwell, started “Save Our Children” campaign against homosexuals. They claimed homosexuality to be morally wrong, which was the beginning of the battle against gays’ rights. It was the substantial background for the government to ban gay adoption (Phillips, 2010). For long years the talks about giving more rights to people with different sexual orientation continued. Nevertheless, even after submitting the law, some politicians are considering banning gay adoption again (Ford, 2012).
Pro and Contras for the Legalization of Gay Adoption in Florida
Legalization of gay adoption is a complicated issue for the government and society. There are multiple social, moral, and legitimate reasons for allowing gay couples to adopt children. First of all, people’s rights have to be supported by the government. Having a child is the right of every person if they can offer the adequate conditions of living and upbringing (Ford, 2012).
Secondly, there are a lot of children in the USA raising without parents. For instance, for half a million adopted children, 100,000 children awaited adoption in 2007. In the same year, approximately 2 million gay couples are interested in adopting a child (Gates et al., 2007). Therefore, allowing gay couples to adopt a child would solve a problem of children who do not have parents (Delaney, 2010).
Thirdly, The American Psychological Association stated that there are no facts confirming the correlation between parenting effectiveness and sexual orientation of an individual. Therefore, both heterosexual and gay people can provide healthy and supportive environment for upbringing their own or adopted children (Delaney, 2010). Moreover, it was estimated that gay couples, which have an adopted child, are more educated and wealthy than other adoptive parents (Gates et al., 2007). Thus, being adopted by a gay couple is not just equal, but also beneficial in some ways (Delaney, 2010).
Furthermore, there is no scientific evidence about sexual orientation of the parents affecting the child’s sexual orientation (Johnson, 2010). Children, who live in the gay families, are not less intelligent or popular; they do not have more problems or lower self-esteem comparatively to other children (American Civil Liberties Union of UTAH, 2012).
Moreover, estimated lose from banning the gay couples adoption is from $87 to $130 million for the USA. In other words, the financial side of the issue is worth considering. The country and its government benefit from gay adoption in the financial sense (Gates et al., 2007).
Finally, ban on gay adoption leaves the children in homosexual families without any legal status in case of something happening to the parents. The child in such families cannot claim inheritances if the parents die. If one of the parents dies, the child cannot stay with the other one due to the legalities. Moreover, children in not recognized families cannot be put on certain health insurance plans or receive the parents’ insurance benefits. Another issue is connected to the gay couples not receiving generous tax deductions, which are available for heterosexual couples with children (Johnson, 2010).
The only proved negative consequence of children adopted by gay couples is them being treated in a negative way by other people. Some people might have certain preconceptions regarding this issue. It is most commonly based on them discriminating gay people and not understanding their rights (American Civil Liberties Union of UTAH, 2012).
Therefore, the laws allowing gay adoptions in the USA and the rest of the world had a long period of development and adjusting. Still, there are not many places, which did not take the ban off the gay adoption. However, it is the right of every person to have a child in case if they can support it and provide adequate upbringing. Mentioned factors do not depend on the sexual orientation the person has. Nevertheless, the main issue against allowing the gay couples to adapt children is the way the society is going to treat a child from such family. Obviously, it depends on the education level of the society and the common mind. Therefore, supporting gay adoption in the world, Florida including, is the right step for politicians since it is equal to supporting the people’s rights. Banning gay adaption is more oriented at discriminating gay people, not because of other issues connected to the adapted children, which is not a fair practice.