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Same-sex partners should be allowed to adopt children

In western countries, anti-homosexual legislation has been abolished more or less completely. Despite the fact that gay and lesbian people still have to defend themselves against prejudiced opinions, this development as a whole is widely accepted. Thus, it seems likely that this process of homosexual emancipation will continue. The federal state of Hamburg, Germany attempted to establish a precedent last year by creating the so-called "Hamburg marriage", i.e. homosexual partnerships can be treated on equal terms with marriages (at least as far as the federal legal system in Germany allows). The logical consequence of this decision would be to allow homosexuals to adopt children. But this issue is still highly controversial.

Simple biological reasons seem to speak against the adoption of children by homosexuals. Nature has created humans in such a way that a father and a mother are necessary in order to have children. Why, one might ask, should gay and lesbian partners then receive the chance of "acting" as mother or father respectively? Others would even go further and call the thought of two men or women bringing up a child immoral. For them, such a political decision would merely be another sign of how deeply insecure our society has become on moral grounds. However, sound reasons can be put forward in in favour of giving homosexual partners the prospect of adopting children.

Firstly, one might come up with legal reasons. If all women and men are equal, what right does the state have to forbid the adoption of children by gay or lesbian couples? To me, this regulation seems highly problematic and I suppose it will be difficult to defend once it is challenged in court. Secondly, all the arguments against adoption by same-sex partners seem to centre round the same question: are there alternatives to the classic mother-father-child family or not? If all families consisted of parents ant their children, happily together, and if this is the only we want the family (as the nucleus of our society) to be organised, then homosexuals cannot be allowed to adopt children.

But would this position do justice to reality? I do not think so. Those who present the arguments mentioned above adhere to a clich� of the family and ignore the developments within our society. The large number of singel-parent families has proven that children can well be brought up in different conditions than by a mother and a father. Although a family that consists of a mother, father and their children can certainly be considered ideal, it would be naive to deny that in reality families often do not work this way anymore. Consequently, I do not find biological or moral arguments against the adoption of children by same-sex couples very persuasive.

Finally, coming from a complete family certainly does not automatically mean having a happy childhood. TV coverage and newspapers are full of stories of violent fathers and ineffectual mothers. More and more families have become highly dysfunctional. Thsi development is sad, but it could also encourage us to attempt to find new ways of letting children experience a happy childhood. At the end of the day, children need love, care and support and as long as same-sex partners are willing and able to care for a child, they should receive the chance to do so.

All things considered, I can understand that some people have problems imagining a gay or lesbian family. Yet I think it is at the same time just for those children who seek a new home to allow same-sex partners to adopt children. This is not a question of what our personal opinion about the way families should be organised is, but of justice in the reality of our modern world.

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