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Even in this day and age, adoption by same-sex couples remains controversial in some countries. With anti-gay laws still in place in the majority of countries throughout the world, same-sex couples often have no choice as to whether or not they can adopt a child.

United States

In the United States, where each state carries its own laws for same-sex adoption, there has been significant progress in this area, such that gay adoption is now prohibited only in two states: Mississippi and Utah. Nevertheless, same-sex couples can still face much opposition when it comes to adoption.

One of the main difficulties same-sex couples face is that they are still prohibited from marrying in many states throughout the US. Because of laws that say single people may not adopt, it is impossible for a gay couple to adopt a child unless they move to a state where marriage or same-sex adoption is permitted.

Perhaps the strangest thing about these laws is that while gay couples are not permitted to adopt, they are permitted to become foster parents.

This raises the question as to why adoption by gay couples is still illegal because, surely, if gay couples are fit to foster a child, they are also fit to adopt one. It would seem that laws restricting gays from adopting are based solely on prejudice against same-sex couples rather than a concern that the couple would be incapable of caring for a child.


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With the United States facing a shortage of adoptive parents, and thousands of children lacking caring home environments, it is now more important than ever that prejudice against gay couples and homophobia is addressed. Research has clearly shown that children of same-sex couples are not disadvantaged, nor do they suffer from lower self-esteem when compared to children of heterosexual couples.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, LGBT people have the same rights as heterosexuals in that adoption by same-sex couples has been legal since 2002. But this did not come about without a struggle and many in Britain are still opposed to adoption by same-sex couples. A recent survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics, showed that over half of all Britons are of the opinion that same-sex marriages should be illegal and two thirds of the population believes that adoption by homosexual couples should not have been legalized.

The Catholic Church and most Christian groups oppose same-sex marriage and adoption because they believe such practices to be immoral. The Arch Bishop of Westminster expressed the hope that Catholic adoption agencies would be exempted from having to place children in homes with same-sex couples. He also warned of a backlash, saying that if they would not be exempted, the Catholic Church would simply close the adoption agencies it runs.

Gay Adoption is on the Rise In Spite of Opposition

Despite the difficulties that same-sex couples face in regards to adoption, statistics from the National Adoption Register show that these types of adoptions are on the rise. One reason for this could be that same-sex couples are often more willing to adopt children that are older or ethnically mixed than heterosexual couples. Gay couples are also better able to relate to problematic children, because they themselves understand what it is like to get off to a tough start in life and feel like the odd one out.

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