Gay Rights To Adoptions Essay Research Paper

Gay Rights To Adoptions Essay, Research Paper

Almost anywhere in North America, gay rights issues are on the political agendas.

This has been an ongoing issue for the past ten years. However, significant

results have hardly been seen until some five years ago. Still today, many

homosexual individuals have to fight hard on a daily basis to be treated equally as

non-married heterosexual couples, in order to gain such ?privilege? as the right

to adoption.

In 1995, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that sexual orientation is

protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and

consequently, the Human Rights Commission announced that it would begin to

accept complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. By then, all

Provinces, except Alberta, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, had already

outlawed discrimination against homosexuals in their own provincial human rights

codes. Furthermore, a new tendency in court ruling across the country — as well

as in private corporations — started quietly handing homosexual men and women,

same-sex employee benefits, bereavement leave and rights to adoptions.

Unfortunately, it is not so everywhere in Canada. In 1991, Delwin Vriend,

a laboratory instructor at Edmonton?s King?s College was dismissed after

affirming that he was gay. Vriend went to court claiming that it was unacceptable

to fire openly gay workers in Alberta. However, at the end of the trial, in

February 1996, the judge explicitly stated otherwise when he said that: ?Social

policy is a matter for elected legislator to decide, not the courts, and that the

legislature had not included sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of

discrimination ? (Dwyer, 1996, p.24), in Alberta?s human rights code.

In the mean time, the gay community of Canada wants more than the

recognition of the rights of gay individuals, but also that of their partnership. In

1996?s Ontario ruling, for example, the court ordered a fundamental redefinition

of the word ?spouse? in the province?s Child and Family Services Act to include

partners of the same sex. Adversely, this kind of decision makes some people

fear that such new laws could easily lead to subsequent pressure to allow gay

marriage. Reform MP of the time, Ian McClelland said that: ? If your wife ask

about why there is a brochure for a new car on the kitchen table, you can tell her

it?s only a brochure. But the next thing she knows, there?s going to be a car in

the driveway? (Dwyer, 1996, p.25).

Close to home, in the United States, in 1998, New Jersey became the first

state to set a policy allowing gay and unmarried couple to jointly adopt children

under the same qualification standards as married couples. In most of the other

state it is current practice to let the court decide what criteria is used to

determine the best placement for a child, but New Jersey had a policy against

joint adoption of children in state custody by couple who were not married.

Therefore, previously, gays in the state of New Jersey could adopt only as

individuals, forcing couples to undertake the lengthy and expensive adoptions

process twice. However, ?courts in Colorado and Wisconsin disallow such

?double-adoptions?; New Hampshire and Florida prohibit any adoptions by gays,

even as individuals? (Cloud, 1997, p.106). But now in New jersey, all unmarried

couple, gays and ?straight? can adopt.

Throught out the United States, there are between 20 and 25 states

where lesbians and gay men are routinely adopting children, but it tends to be an

arbitrary decision. It is somewhat dangerous when an adoption policy is arbitrary

contrary to something written down.

This new New Jersey policy brought waves of opposition by religious rights

groups such as the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council. Kristen

Hansen, a spokesperson for the latter group declared that the settlement

agreement was ?a loss for children. This is bringing state government in to …

give[ing] it?s stamp of approval to these practices, and it seems to have

government saying for the first time that a gay environment is a good one to

grow up in? (Brienza, 1998, p98).

Still, in practice, adoption policy are almost made case by case, and

sympathetic judges — in the U.S., every adoption must be sanctioned by a judge

– can allow just about any arrangement. It is estimated that thousands of gays

have adopted over that past 20 years.


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