Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Adoption Argument for Same-Sex Marriage

Following is a letter to a local radio talk show host who commonly resorts to the needs of parentless children as a justification for same-sex marriage. It's a common, emotional, and seemingly rational appeal. 

Dear XXXXX:

Hope you'll take a minute to consider a few thoughts regarding same-sex marriage. I heard you talking about gay marriage and adoption. As a talk show host, I realize that often times you may be saying things simply to provoke conversation, which of course is your job, so I don't necessarily think that everything you say is what you personally believe. But in case you don't already know....

There is no shortage of heterosexual married couples in the United States, including Guam, who are waiting to adopt a child. Just google the words "waiting to adopt". There are even "waiting to adopt"' support groups. In Guam, since we have no adoption agency or legal entity that keeps track of such things, we have to go to the people who facilitate adoptions to get any kind of data. Kamalin Karidat is the most active organization in local adoptions. I am told that there are at least 20 couples at any one time waiting to adopt and they sometimes have to wait years.



The wait and the complexity is longer in Guam because there is no agency and families are less likely to put a child up for adoption and more likely to farm the kid out to a relative. In addition, the average cost of adopting a child in the U.S. is $33,793 with the attorney getting $31,465 of that. (www.adoptivefamilies.com) The wait and the cost is why many couples go outside the U.S. to adopt children.

I think its wonderful that good men and women who happen to be gay want to take care of a child, however, the question must be what's best for the child. If a heterosexual married couple is available to adopt (and the stats show that they are), should a homosexual couple be treated equally as good a choice or even given priority? What's best for the child? Do children really need a mother and a father or will any arrangement suffice? Irresponsible parenting is certainly a blight but does irresponsible parenting negate or change the true needs of the child? Is it okay for little Johnny to grow up seeing daddy and daddy in bed together?

As regards gay marriage in general I have one question that gay marriage advocates can never seem to answer: 

"If you would not limit marriage to one man and one woman, what would you limit it to and why?"

This isn't just the "slippery slope" argument. We throw people in jail for marrying more than one person at a time. Why? Polygamy has a far greater historical, cultural, and even biblical pedigree than does gay marriage (which has none) or even permanent heterosexual monogamy for that matter. If marriage can simply be reduced to a matter of accessing benefits, then why not let brother and sister marry, father and daughter, and so on? If I work for the government and my wife gets my pension when I die and I would rather that my daughter get the pension, then why not divorce my wife and marry my daughter?

It's too easy to make light of these propositions and call them extreme, but essentially this is the gay marriage proposition. In fact, this is why Bill 212-30 never went anywhere because it proposed such a "reciprocal beneficiary" arrangement analogous to marriage. The boys over at the retirement fund weighed in quickly on that one.

But fiscal minutia aside, perhaps, next time the subject comes up, you can float the question: "If you would not limit marriage to one man and one woman, what would you limit it to and why?" And it wouldn't just be about polygamy, it would be about allowing all sorts of marital arrangements that the law currently forbids, most of which are on the basis of age, consanguinity, and affinity, but in some states, on blood types and sexually transmitted diseases. One state, Alabama, still has a law requiring physical consummation, meaning that impotency would be a legal impediment to marriage. 

In short, the gay marriage debate needs to be engaged on the level of facts and not just feelings or personal religious beliefs - where it so often is. While I am informed by my religious beliefs I never attempt to make an argument against gay marriage from them, simply because it is not necessary. 

I don't really want to call in every time I hear this topic come up. I've said my piece many times. In fact, I'm probably the local poster boy for the opposition - albeit by my own choosing. However, there has never been a forum where the issue can be intellectually engaged in a sustained way. Perhaps you've tried and I missed it. 

Thanks for listening.

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