According to Adopt U.S. kids there are over 108,000 children waiting to be adopted across the United States.Unfortunately there are more children in need of homes than people willing to adopt them. One proposed, but highly controversial, solution to this problem is that the United States should support same-sex couples trying to adopt by passing laws that forbid adoption agencies from turning away prospective parents based solely on sexual orientation.
This idea is controversial because homosexuality goes against the religious beliefs of many Americans. Some Americans believe that being forced to support the adoption of children by homosexuals deprives them of their rights under the First Amendment.
Every year thousands of teenagers will age out of foster care without a supportive family to help them transition smoothly into adulthood. Young adults who have grown up in foster are at a higher risk of living in poverty or committing a crime. CNN news reports that one in five will face homeless and one in four will suffer from PTSD. Most Americans would agree that these statistics are alarming and we need to do something to insure that every child finds a family before they age out of foster care.
Supporters of allowing homosexual couples to adopt children believe that it is far better for a child to grow up in stable home with same-sex parents than to grow up in the broken foster care system and age out at age 18 with minimal support.
After analyzing several studies comparing the children of homosexual couples the children of heterosexual couples, Golden Cradle Adoption Agencies has found that both groups of children fare equally well in several key areas. “All of these studies very consistently showed that factors such as self-esteem, relationship with peers, intelligence, behavior, and gender identity were the same whether children were raised by heterosexual couples or by same-sex couples.” Based on these findings it is argued that there is no logical reason why same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt.
Another argument for same sex couples being allowed to adopt is that all American citizens deserve equal rights. We were all created equal and should be treated as equals. This means that the law should protect every person equally. Laws should not treat a person differently because of factors such as race, gender or sexual orientation. Every person should have the right to pursue happiness when it does not harm other people. For many couples happiness means being able to build a family through adoption. Studies have shown that being raised by same-sex parents does not harm children. A child being in loving homes helps our country rather than harming it.
Over the last few months we have seen several new laws created that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. Last month laws in Mississippi barring same sex couples from adopting were struck down in federal court. Same sex couples in all 50 states have now been granted the right to adopt. However, not everyone is pleased with this development.
On April 5 Mississippi governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523 dubbed The Religious Freedom Bill. Supporters believe that this bill will help to protect citizens right to religious freedom during this period of change in the United States. ABC News reports that the Religious Freedom Act gives businesses the right to “Decline to “solemnize any marriage” or provide wedding-related services based on their religious beliefs or moral convictions.” It also gives employers the right to “Decide whether or not to hire, terminate or discipline an individual whose conduct or religious beliefs are inconsistent” with their beliefs or moral convictions.
Supporters of the Religious Freedom Act argue that this country is founded on the concept that every person deserves the right to freely express their religion. Business owners have the right to deny a person service if it goes against their religious convictions. It is unconstitutional for the government to force citizens to set aside their religious beliefs in order to be allowed to run a business or non-profit in the United States. The goal of this law is to protect citizen’s rights to religious freedom.
The Religious Freedom act could have serious implications for same-sex couples looking to adopt in the State of Mississippi. The adoption process can be long and expensive. Thankfully there are many organizations that provide financial and legal resources for couples looking to adopt. Under the Religious Freedom Act religious organizations that provide these resources would be within their legal rights to turn away homosexual couples.
In conclusion there are many children in the United States in need of loving homes. We can all agree that every child deserves a home. However, in the process of finding homes for children we need to respect the religious beliefs of others.