Impresionable Children Essay

This essay has a total of 1760 words and 8 pages.

Impresionable Children

Over the pas couple of decades American society has undergone some vast changes. The
concept of the family has been greatly altered. No longer is such emphasis put on the
"traditional" family. A majority of children are being raised in single parent households.
Single parent adoption rights have been granted. Now an entirely new sort of family is
being disputed. Should gays and lesbians be granted the right to adopt a child? Today's
view of gays and lesbians is drastically differen t than it was in the past. As more
people "come out of the closet" gays and lesbians are becoming more socially accepted.
They currently are battling for equality in a variety of areas. In Hawaii gays and
lesbians can be granted marriage righ ts, which was a huge victory until DOMA was passed.
The Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as DOMA, was a bill proposed by conservative
Congressmen and Senator Bob Dole. Dole says, "DOMA defines marriage as between one man and
one woman for a ll federal purposes (taxes, Social Security, veterans' benefits, etc.) and
says that states don't have to pay attention to the Constitution if they don't want to
recognize same-sex marriages that are legal in any other state" (Winters 1). President
Bill Clinton, who openly expresses his opposition to same-sex marriages, signed the bill
making it a law. Gays and lesbians continue to fight. Recently the fights have been
centered on adoption. This new dilemma has created quite a stir in society.

It is estimated that the number of children being raised by gay or lesbian parents is
between 2 and 6 million. It is extremely hard to get an accurate estimation due to the
fact that many gays and lesbias are not open about their family structure. These people do
not want to be surveyed for fear of losing their children. In a population where roughly
10% or 25 million people are reported to be homosexual the numbers of those raising
children are outstanding (Collum 1).

There are three main ways that gays and lesbians are raising children and acquiring
families without the courts becoming involved. The first way, which is also the most
common way, is when heterosexual marriages dissolve after one parent apparentl y "comes
out." With this situation, as long as there isn't a messy custody battle in court most
often the child is raised by the gay or lesbia parent, and is also fully aware of his or
her parent's sexual tendencies. The second method is lesbi ans receiving artificial
insemination. Estimates of the number of children born to lesbians through artificial
insemination range in the tens of thousands. Pacific Reproductive Services is a clinic in
San Francisco where a growing number of lesbians are becoming clients. The clinic reports
that more than a 100 lesbians use the sperm bank each month. Lastly, there is one of the
newer methods: gays and lesbians going into an agreement with each other to produce a
child. In some cases they share duties and custody in raising the child. In other cases
the men or women avoid any attachment with the child at all (Henry III 67-68). Lesbian and
gay parents go throughout the daily routines of life no differently than heterosexual
parents do.

In most cases everyone just wants what is best for the child. This brings on the question
if being raised in a same-sex dominated environment will have a psychological effect on
the child. The fact still remains that the traumas and hardships fac ed by both the
parents and the children of gay and lesbian households will be totally different from
those faced by heterosexual families. This is why many gay and lesbian families keep their
family structure so secretive, to avoid the comments, teasing, and publicity surrounding
their private lives. Though we all recognize the fact that the traditional view of the
family has been altered significantly, can the family be altered to that much of an

Adoption is the only other method for gays and lesbians to acquire children. This is the
most difficult, technical, and risky way to have a child. It is so risky because cases can
vary depending on the judge's personal views and opinions on this issue. Most courts make
their jurisdiction based on what they feel will be the result of a child growing up in a
gay or lesbian household. Homosexual couple's custody rights are nearly always at risk in
the common jurisdictions. Continually courts rule that a child's best interest is met in
the homes of heterosexual parents. One major reasoning for this is due to the fact that
though the court does acknowledge that a gay or lesbians' sexuality is beyond their
control, living with someone of the same s ex can be controlled. There are five main
points that courts generally use when making their jurisdiction in adoption cases and
custody/visitation rights:

1. Is the homosexual parent living with his or her lover, and if so will this cause the

child to have learn to adapt to a totally different lifestyle?

' 2. How does society currently view same-sex relationships, and how have courts

recently ruled in similar cases?

3. What would the pressures and problems be placed on the child?
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