Why Adoption But Not SSM? A Reply to Prof. Culhane


Prof. Culhane writes:

Why adoption, but no marriage?

Whenever I speak about LGBT rights, audiences are hard-pressed to explain why almost all states allow gays and lesbians – single or partnered – to adopt or foster-parent children, but so few allow us to marry..."

Most people probably didn't even notice the debate on gay adoption in the 1990s but I did. The argument was made: "there are not enough parents for abandoned children. Regardless of what you think about 'the ideal' a good gay parent is better than no parent at all."

That makes sense. No one ever suggested that gay adoption represented a rejection of the idea that the ideal for children is a mom and a dad. Until now, years after the fact.

Adoption is the way we get the best we can for children who do not have the ideal. It tells us little about whether we want to protect through marriage the ideal that children ought to have a mom and a dad.