The “Right” to Homosexual Adoption

This will stir things up.

Here's the thought today – I don't understand the logic of homosexual couples demanding the right to adopt. It strikes me as utterly undermining their other argument that the essential nature of their relationship is, well, natural and normal.

Here's the logic:

  1. Assumption conceded for the sake of the argument: Homosexual attraction and thus homosexual relationships are perfectly natural and normal (albeit not as common as heterosexual relationships).
  2. Homosexual relationships are, in their essence, non-reproductive.
  3. Thus, under assumption 1 and undeniable fact 2 – why the demand of a “right” to children? It is a right utterly alien to the essence of the relationship. To argue for the right is to argue against the essential nature of that relationship.

Nor is it consistent to point to the right of infertile heterosexual couples to adopt. The infertility of the heterosexual couple is recognised as contrary to the nature of that relationship and therefore something to be compensated for. This is an utterly different claim to that made on behalf of homosexual couples.

The bottom line is this – if the homosexual lobby want to argue for the “naturalness” of homosexual relationships based, not least, on their existence – then why are they not prepared to accept the natural outcomes of those relationships (or non-outcomes, as the case may be)?

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Joe Ioppolo

    Perhaps because the argument for homosexual adoption is based on inherent natural rights and not on rights based on natural outcomes (as far as I have understood it). In a similar way, if I was born in China, I would argue for my inherent right to free speech rather than conclude from the natural outcome of my birth in China that I would have none.
    ….On another note, do we have an inherent right to anything at all?

  2. David Shepherd

    Does this logic also suggest celibate singles have no ‘right’ to adopt?

    1. Celibacy is perfectly natural and normal.
    2. The celibate state is, in its essence, non-reproductive.
    3. Thus, under assumption 1 and undeniable fact 2 – why the demand of a “right” to children? It is a right utterly alien to the essence of celibacy. To argue for the right is to argue against the essential nature of celibacy.


  3. David Ould

    hi Joe,

    I’m not sure that the analogy holds. Lack of freedom of speech is not intrinsic to “being Chinese”. For example there are Chinese people all over the world, only some of whom lack freedom of speech. The lack of freedoms is a result of totalitarianism and any inherent right is universal to all people.
    However, homosexual relationships are intrinsically non-reproductive.

    As for the question of “rights” in the first place, I agree with your question. FWIW, I don’t know whether the Christian ever demands his own rights. On the contrary, surely?

  4. andrewf

    I suspect that the claim probably stems from a view of ‘if you’re allowed then so am I”. Of course, let’s just ignore where we got our idea of the equality and rights of all people from in the first place!

  5. David Ould

    good question David.
    Given that the stats overwhelmingly show that the best outcomes for children are when they are in families with stable heterosexual parents (surprise surprise) I would have to question why on earth we adopt children out to single people.

    There are more than enough suitable married couples who wish to adopt and what is best for the children must, surely, be our concern.

  6. Brian

    Can you point me to the research that demonstrates that outcomes for children with stable heterosexual parents are any worse than that for children with stable same-sex parents?

  7. David Ould

    hi Brian, sorry for the delay in getting your comment moderated. My argument was that heterosexual marriage is the best scenario for children. I’m aware of the following studies/sources:

    Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: A systemic review of longitudinal studies. Acta Paediatrica, 97, 153-158. showed that the presence of fathers was a positive effect (as against no father present)

    Wilcox, W. B. et al. (2005). Why marriage matters: Twenty-six conclusions from the social sciences contains a detailed analysis of lots of different studies. You can get a fairly cheap copy from Amazon here if you want.

    There’s a Rutgers report from 2007 “The State of Our Unions: The Social Health of Marriage in America 2007” which doesn’t appear to be online at the moment, although the link is here [pdf].

    That’s a couple. Of course, I don’t doubt that some of the conclusions will be disputed, they often are in this field on both sides.

  8. David Ould

    thanks Brian,

    Don’t worry, it wasn’t muddled – the claim was implicit in my statement and it was quite appropriate to pick up on it.

    I think you’re right, there is not as much research as we would like on the subject but it seems to me that what we have does indicate that heterosexual parents are of most benefit.

    I note you took Sandy Grant up on this issue over at the Sola Panel – it’s obviously a topic you’re interested in. Your exchange with Sandy over there is helpful, not least Sandy’s comments here.

    Having said all that, it’s a peripheral point to my main contention in the OP which is that the right to children is antithetical to the essence of a homosexual relationship.

  9. David Ould

    out of interest Brian, how much of your interest is “passing”? Are you an academic in the field? Does this issue impact you directly? Are you involved in any other way in advocating/arguing on this issue?

    Just curious.

  10. Brian

    Hi David
    Sorry for muddling my question.  You seem to have interpreted it correctly – I meant: ‘that outcomes for children with stable same-sex parents are any worse than that for children with stable heterosexual parents?’

    The review by Sarkadi et al does not consider any studies which compare outcomes for children with heterosexual parents to those with same sex parents, so doesn’t support any conclusions regarding comparisons between the two groups.  Further, it only concludes that children benefit from an active and regular unspecified engagement from a father or father figure.  That is, it does not conclude that the father (or father figure) has to be biologically related, resident, etc. 

    There is a 2011 edition of the Wilcox report.  As with the above review, it does not analyse studies which compare outcomes for children with heterosexual parents to those with same sex parents, so cannot be used to support conclusions about relative benefits.

    The 2007 State of our Unions report can be found here  As with the other two reviews you cite, it does not compare outcomes between heterosexual and same sex parented children.

    Can you direct me to any controlled studies (or better, systematic reviews) which do demonstrate your contention by comparison of the outcomes for these two groups?

    I ask, because I have a passing familiarity with the literature and know of no systematic reviews nor controlled studies which support the conclusion that children from same sex parents do any worse than those from heterosexual parents. 

  11. David Ould

    hi Brian,

    I’m sorry that you inferred I didn’t trust your word. They were genuine questions – and to be fair you’ve not answered them absolutely clearly. You say that you have “vested interest”. Am I correct, therefore, in understanding that you’re not an academic in a related field, nor advocate on it in any way?
    Our of interest, where did your “intellectual interest” come from? Seems a bit of a niche issue to have an interest in.

  12. David Ould

    I don’t have a horse in this race.

    And yet, intriguingly, this appears to be the only issue that you want to comment on on this blog. By all means choose your topics as you will but I don’t think you can blame me for wondering if that’s not quite true.

    Are you an academic in the field? If not, then why do you have this “passing familiarity”? What prompted it? Do you advocate in any way in this field?

    As for your argument – yes, along with Sandy in the post I referenced, I’m happy to concede that not all the studies go the way I would expect but I also share Sandy’s concern that there is an inherent bias in much of the research.

    And I don’t think that the claim is outrageous. We know that children residing with both their biological parents have the best outcomes – that was my claim and I’m convinced it stands. Homosexual relationships fall outside that category/description. ISTM that the whole area of research in this field is vastly tainted by bias.

    And, along with Sandy, I’m happy to announce/declare my bias on the subject.

  13. Brian

    Hi David
    I’m sorry that you are not willing to trust my word on this.  I can only reiterate that I have no vested interest in this issue – not in any of the respects of which you ask.  I’m not sure why you see this as pertinent to our discussion.  I do have an intellectual interest in the debate and am interested in the conservative Christian position, such as held by Sydney Anglicans.  The social sciences are not my field, but I have read some of the research to better understand the facts.

    Yes, this is the only topic I have commented on here; but this is because, I think, this is the only time I have ever commented on your blog.  If you have a search through the old Sola Panel posts I think you will find that I have commented on other topics there.

    But back to the substantive issue, you say: “We know that children residing with both their biological parents have the best outcomes – that was my claim and I’m convinced it stands.”  The studies I presume you are referring to (from your cited examples) only claim to show that children do better residing with their biological parents than they do residing with a single parent or after family breakdown. These results cannot be extrapolated to support claims about the comparative outcomes of same sex and heterosexual parented children when these other factors (family breakdown, etc) are controlled for.  When same sex and heterosexual parented children are directly compared, with these extraneous variables controlled, heterosexual parents do not provide for better outcomes.

  14. Brian

    I don’t have a horse in this race.  I’m prompted to comment because some factually inaccurate claims are repeatedly made, in particular such as that which you make here:  “…what [research] we have does indicate that heterosexual parents are of most benefit.” 

    There have been hundreds of controlled studies which compare outcomes of same sex parented children to those of children with heterosexual parents.  Many reviews of these studies and the conclusions of the major relevant professional organisations have been published.  None of these have concluded that the children of same sex parents fare worse than those of heterosexual parents.

    Even if you reject the null conclusion of this research, there aren’t the controlled studies to support the alternative hypothesis – that same sex parented children fare worse.  If there are such studies, please direct me to them.

    That so many opponents of same sex parenting persist with this claim in the face of such overwhelming evidence is risking the appearance of wilful ignorance. 


  15. Brian

    Hi David
    I will try to be clearer:  I am not an academic in this nor a related field; I do not advocate on it in any way –except insofar as I might engage in discussions such as this.  My interest was sparked by empirical assertions made about homosexual people in contexts such as this.  On investigating, I found them to be unsupported by the research and believe such misconceptions should be corrected.

    If you wish to continue to discuss the substantive issues, maybe you could explain how you think the three papers you cite, or similar such papers, support the claim that children of same sex couples fare worse than those with heterosexual parents?

  16. David Ould

    hi Brian, thanks for that. Much appreciated.

    I think the papers we’re discussing demonstrate that best results for kids are with the biological parents. I’m also with Sandy on his view on the wider research in the field – I think we’ve got a problem of bias and the recent piece that claimed that “children” of lesbians actually have better results.

    Having said that, it was a peripheral mention in a comment. I think the far bigger issue is a philosophical one, as stated in the OP, that the very concept of homosexuals having “children” is self-defeating for their cause.

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