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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK
Should gay couples be allowed to adopt?
The House of Lords has narrowly rejected plans already agreed by MPs to end the present ban on the adoption of children by unmarried heterosexual and gay couples.
Peers voted by 196 votes to 162 to maintain the ban on unmarried couples, including gay partners.
Conservative Baroness O'Cathain, who led the campaign to retain the ban, had said the proposals would undermine marriage and put children at risk by placing them in unstable relationships.
The Adoption and Children Bill will now return to the Commons but faces a tight timetable.
MPs are almost certain to overturn the defeat but ministers want to get the laws on the statute books before this session of Parliament ends in less than a month's time.
Do you think gay couples should be allowed to adopt children?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
We unofficially adopted a boy when he was six. He's twenty now and away at university. The world is his oyster. Two dads suited him just fine.
Amy Campbell, USA
Marriage is no longer the social institution it once was: the pill, abortion, and the no-fault divorce industry have seen to that. Many children now grow up in stable loving homes with parents who are not married - and to deny committed people the right to give an adoptive child a stable home for life is simply insulting.
How many of those who say that adoptive couples should be married or heterosexual have read cover to cover the monthly publication "Be my Parent"? It's heartbreaking - such children have right to maximum opportunity of finding loving parents - full stop!
I have absolutely nothing against anyone and believe in equality for all, regardless of race, sex, religion, etc. However, when it comes to bringing up children, I value family values. A child, I believe, needs a mother and a father. A stable relationship is never a foregone conclusion. But a child needs both a mother and father relationship. It is hard enough explaining to children where they come from in loving heterosexual relationships. But to try and explain this to children in same sex relationships must be not only difficult for the child concerned, but also for the lesbians/homosexuals who are trying to bring up that child to the best of their ability.
It is a real sad state of affairs when we contemplate two gays adopting children . Whatever the arguments put forward by the liberal fringes it denies the child in question an upbringing which no government designed but what nature dictated. Please, please don't let this happen, let's speak out for the children.
Gay men and women have the same rights to happiness and love and family as everyone else. I do not understand why some feel threatened by gays pursuing the same values as the rest of society.
Every child is entitled to certain rights: loving parents and legal protection, a safety net in case something happens to one of them. If a child is adopted by one member of a gay couple and that person dies, the other partner and acting parent would have no rights and what would happen to the child?
In response to those who hold the same view as Ann Widdecombe proposed on 'Question Time' last night, is it not time to give gay and lesbian couples the same marriage rights so that they can then adopt. If their main point of argument is that those who co-habit are more likely to separate, give them another option. Widdecombe's response was that co-habiting 'straight' couples could marry if they wanted to adopt strongly enough, but where does that leave homosexual couples who cannot marry?
I am a gay man, and I live with my partner as a 'married' couple. From a personal view neither of us want children.
I have many friends who were forced into marriage by parents, and have children. Their kids are normal, well adjusted and have been taught more about understanding the difference between people than any 'hetero' person could have afforded them.
If a couple are in a long-term and stable relationship, then having two parents who are caring, loving is more important that having two uncaring, bigoted ones.
Martin, Brighton, England
Gay people can be good or bad parents: just like heterosexuals. But as long as I see adverts from councils on bus shelters and on the tube looking for people to adopt, I say the more good couples allowed to adopt, the better; regardless of their sexuality.
How can the Christian Institute carry that name and promote the use of such cards? Surely Christianity is about loving others regardless of their own beliefs! Two caring parents have to be a lot better than no parents at all, regardless of their sexuality. These children need families and there are lots of people offering that chance, why not let them have it?
Adopted children can have a bad time handling the fact that they are adopted. The last thing they need on top of this is to be bullied about the fact they have also got gay adopted parents.
25 years ago it was "morally wrong" that children should be brought up by a single parent. I was abused for that. Now thank God attitudes are changing along with families. If two people are willing to make all the sacrifices needed to become loving parents, then their children are lucky.
Any body; single, married, hetero- or homosexual should be allowed to bring up a child if they can provide it with a stable and loving home. My husband and his two sisters were brought up by a gay mother from a young age and all three of them are heterosexual. Not that it would have mattered had they not been.
If politicians are so concerned about the threat to a 'traditional' married life, why has the married persons tax allowance been scrapped and child tax credits introduced which are available to everyone whether married or not?
A child needs both mother and father. Gay people being of the same sex do not fulfil this requirement.
I am a prospective adopter. I get a magazine regularly from Adoption UK "advertising" children who wait. Please bear in mind that some of the children who need homes are severely disabled, some are up to 10 years old and some are in sibling groups of 3 or more who want to stay together. There may be many married couples like us willing to adopt one or two healthy young children but not everyone will take these kids on. If a gay or unmarried couple can adopt them then they will have the stability of TWO legal parents who share their care.
R. How, UK
I've started carrying my own adoption card. It says 'In the event of my death I do not want my children adopted by raving bigots like Lady O'Cathain'.
Gay couples are already adopting in practice, only they are required to do it as single people rather than as a couple. The same applies to unmarried couples. What is too controversial about rectifying what is essentially a technicality?
Single gay people can already adopt - why not couples? 40 per cent of children are born to unmarried couples. Who is Lady O'Cathain to tell these people that they are unfit to adopt, or that they are not proper parents?
No way! Can you even begin to imagine the grief they would get from other kids at school?
Do me a favour. Do people really believe that a child can be influenced to be gay of not? The issue is how happy a child will be with parents - any parents - who will provide a loving and stable home.
Yes they should be allowed to adopt. I see nothing wrong in it at all. It's about time all this silliness was
No gay couple would influence their child with homosexuality. We have grown up in a world where we have been pressured to be straight, and we know the suffering it causes. Gay people would be more careful than most to ensure their child grows up in a safe loving environment where it is ok for them to be who they are regardless of their sexuality.
Comments like Peter's come out of homophobia that is still built-in to society today.
I completely agree with Peter Finch, England. I do not think that a child should be influenced that way at such a young age. I used to baby-sit for a little girl whose father had left her mother for a man. One evening as I was reading her a story before bed, she came out with "Does your daddy have a boyfriend?" Although I was shocked, this was a completely innocent and valid question, but at the same time, I think that she was far too young to understand homosexuality and that perhaps the full details of her father's departure should have been saved for when she was old enough to deal with it. Therefore, no, I do not think that gay couples should be allowed to adopt.
No. It is society's responsibility to bring up the child in a normal, heterosexual relationship. I agree that some loving gay couples are going to be better than some hetro-couples, but it is not right that a child in its formative stages is put under the influence of homosexuality. Adoption laws should be toughened, not relaxed.
16 Oct 02 | Politics
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