It’s the parent that counts

Allison Pritchard

Think about this: 542,000 American children are unnecessarily living in foster homes according to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information. Plenty of gay couples are prepared with open arms to give these children a good home, but because of widespread discrimination, the children are left shuffling though temporary homes, with the added difficulty of emotional, behavioral, academic and other numerous problems.

Even in today’s modern society, gay parents face roadblocks. Utah banned all unmarried couples – heterosexual or homosexual – from state-sponsored adoptions in 2000.

Straight parents often fall into parenthood with no preparation or desire to be parents, as roughly 48 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned according to an article posted on the Web site, about.com. Many children are born into neglectful and abusive straight parents at birth. Gay couples must battle through vigorous interviews, expenses, paperwork and time-consuming preparation to prove they truly want and are capable of parenthood.

No legitimate evidence exists, despite commonly propelled myths, that children of gay parents have low self-esteem or that gay people make unfit parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics states children with gay parents “fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning as children with straight parents,” according to OpenAdopt.org.

Some claim gay people shouldn’t adopt because their children will be teased by peers. By that ridiculous standard, black, Jewish, single, disabled, uneducated or any non-white, non-married person shouldn’t be allowed to raise children for fear that the child will be teased.

The myth that gay people are more likely to molest children is outlandishly false. No legitimate research connecting pedophilia and homosexuality exists. Ninety percent of child abuse is committed by heterosexual men. A study in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, shows that children are more than 100 times more likely to be molested by their relative’s heterosexual partner than by a homosexual person.

Critics argue that every child must have a male and female parent as role models. Children of single parents are parented by one gender and they don’t all turn out gay. Children of gay parents have gender role models in grandparents, neighbors, friends and teachers.

A child’s sexuality is not determined by the sexuality of his or her parents. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, studies of the sexual orientation of children with gay fathers show that the proportion of gay offspring is similar to that of a random sample of the population. Straight couples produce gay children as easily as gay couples often produce straight children.

The sexual orientation of parents has nothing to do with the quality of the parents. A nurturing demeanor is more important. Many minority, older and unhealthy children are often relocated from home to home in foster care. Orphans need love and a home more than a cookie cutter “mom, dad, brother and dog” family.

Gay parenting has gotten recent media attention when gay parent Rosie O’Donnell spoke in favor it. The movie The Family Stone and the television show “Six Feet Under” also feature gay parents in a positive light.

The intense preparation and screening process ensures potential gay adopting parents are suitable. Why make it harder for kids to find a good home? Stop keeping children parentless by annihilating prejudice and discrimination against gay parenting.

Allison Pritchard is a junior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]