Adoption and Homosexual Couples

 In Sexuality

“A Gay couple have been approved to adopt a child—a WA first under liberalised laws that came into force in 2002. The application, by a male couple, has been approved by the Department of Community Development.” – The Sunday Times, 11 September 2005.

The Adoption Act 1994 declares that the “paramount considerations to be taken into account in the administration” of that Act are “the welfare and best interests of a child who is an adoptee or a prospective adoptee; the principle that adoption is a service for a child who is an adoptee or a prospective adoptee; and the adoption of a child should occur only in circumstances where there is no other appropriate alternative for the child.”

Nothing in these considerations refers to any alleged “right” of couples of any kind to adopt. Therefore the question of whether a homosexual couple should be treated equally with a married couple simply does not arise except in the context of asking what is in the best interest of the child.

The onus is on those advocating adoption by homosexual couples to establish that the best interest of a child can ever be served by intentionally depriving the child of either a father or a mother. This is the necessary consequence of placing a child for adoption with either a male homosexual couple or a lesbian couple.

Advocates of adoption by homosexual couples frequently claim that about 50 studies have been done “proving” no difference in outcome between children raised by married couples or by homosexual couples. Any social science study depends for its validity on following rigorous statistical and research procedures. Dr Robert Lerner and Dr Althea Nagai, experts in quantitative analysis, after dissecting each of 49 of such studies found at least one fatal research flaw in each study. These studies are therefore no basis for good science or good public policy.

On the other hand there is a large and reliable body of evidence that there are gender-linked differences in parenting skills. Men and women bring different strengths to their children’s development. Fathers and mothers interact differently with their infant children. Fathers tend to play with their children more physically while mothers smile and talk more to them. Fathers tend to encourage curiosity and problem solving and are less solicitous about failure. Mothers provide more expressive and nurturing childrearing.

What a perverse idea of fairness is it to decide that a little boy or a little girl shall never be able to call anyone “Mummy” because the next couple in the adoption queue is a pair of male homosexuals?

Adoption creates a legal, lifelong bond between a child and the adopting parents. It provides a vital service to those children whose natural parents freely decide that they are unable or unwilling to care for and raise them. The State has a grave obligation to ensure that it acts only in the best interests of these children and ignores the self-serving interests of any adults demanding a “right to adopt”.

Millennia of human experience, common sense and weighty research all support the presumption that the best interest of the child being placed for adoption is served by entrusting the child to a mother and father in a stable marriage. The advocates of adoption by homosexual couples cannot meet the burden of proof required to rebut this presumption.

The Australian Family Association welcomes the commitment of the Liberal Party to repeal the unjust provision of the Adoption Act which permits adoption by homosexual couples. This provision was introduced by the Gallop Government not after any comprehensive review of the needs of children, but on demands for equality from a small but influential group of adults. We urge the Gallop Government to likewise consider repealing this provision.


John Barich is National Vice President of the Australian Family Association.
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