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    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Catholics and Homosexual Adoption nicely explained


    Catholic Charities believes that same-sex caregivers do not provide an atmosphere that is conducive to the well-rounded rearing of children. Despite all the talk of generic "parenting," mothers and fathers are not androgynous, interchangeable "parental units." A mother is not expendable and cannot be replaced by a second father. When she is missing, something essential is lost. To deliberately deprive a child of a mother or a father is to do violence to that child. Moreover, not only are both parents necessary for the unique contribution each provides, they also furnish an example of interaction between the sexes themselves.

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    Some have countered that entrusting children to gay couples, while perhaps not the best option, beats the alternatives. There simply are not enough available married couples willing to adopt, and gays fill the gap. Yet this logic is based on two false premises. First, there are long lines of married couples waiting to adopt a child, many of whom spend years navigating the labyrinthine adoption process. Most often, what are lacking are not adoptive parents, but children to adopt. The process can become so frustrating and drawn out that many opt for other alternatives, like adopting a child from a foreign country. Second, where gay adoption is permitted, no special rules apply granting preference to married couples, and children are placed indiscriminately with homosexual couples and heterosexuals. Once again, the determining factor often becomes income, as if a plasma television, MP3 player, and Game Boy were more important for a child than a mother and father.

    Finally, the adoption issue has often been mistakenly identified as a question of gay rights. Yet children are not a commodity that all should "have," and no one has the right to adopt. Children do, however, have the right to a mother and a father. Adoption is not about filling an emotional void in adults' lives, but offering a stable home to unfortunate children. When political agendas prevail over the best interests of children, sloppy moral reasoning is sure to follow.

    Father Thomas D. Williams, LC, is dean of the theology school at Rome's Regina Apostolorum University where he teaches Catholic Social Doctrine.

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