Vanessa Clayberg, VCU Queer Action, United Secular Alliance
If they are able to raise the child in a loving and safe home, they should be able to adopt.
A state-funded adoption agency should not be able to discriminate against race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation when screening those that wish to adopt. Judging a potential parent based on anything besides their well-being and personality is illogical and detrimental to any child awaiting a home. If the prospective parents are able to provide a nurturing and safe environment for a child, then they should be able to adopt without any background discrimination.
Discrimination in the adoption process will only lead to less homes for the vast number of children that need them, and heartbreak for those who wish to have children but are denied that opportunity. There is no evidence to say that a gay couple will raise their children below the standards of society, on the contrary, there are studies (http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting.aspx) that show children raised by same-sex parents have no abnormal psychological developments, thus leasing to the conclusion that gay parents are not to be considered unfit for the job.
As “all men our created equal” in the eyes of our government regardless of race, gender, or religion, adoption agencies that receive government grants should not be able to make adoption decisions regarding these criteria. When an agency agrees to take money from the government, that agency should also prepare to follow all laws the government regulates, even if it does not suit their individual ideals. If that agency refuses to follow anti-discriminatory guidelines set forth by the government, they should not be able to use the government's money for their acts of discrimination.
Country of origin should also not be a factor in the adoption process. Different ideals and cultural backgrounds make for varying parenting styles, but do not necessarily make for bad ones. To conform to one accepted style of parenting is to create a mold that all children must fall into, thus bringing a death uniquity and cultural variations that our society has come to value so much.
Lastly, gender identity should not be a hindrance for those wishing to adopt. If one chooses to associate with a different gender than that of which they were born, it does not prove that they are mentally unstable or unfit to raise a child. Gender does not play a vital role in parenting, rather the parent -regardless of gender- does. If the parent has plans to raise the child in a loving home so that he/she may one day be a participating member of society, it should not matter if they view themselves as an opposite or neutral gender.
In short, adoption agencies should only determine if someone is capable or incapable to fulfill parental duties by how much love they will show the child, whether they have a stable and nurturing personality, and if they have the means to provide for the child. These criteria can not be determined through race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and should not be attempted by our adoption agencies.