by Rex Wockner
Republican presidential candidate John McCain told The New York Times that he opposes gay adoption July 13.
“I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,” he said.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have no restrictions on gay adoption, according to the Family Equality Council.
Florida prohibits “homosexual” individuals from adopting, Michigan bans same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions from adopting, Mississippi prohibits same-sex couples from adopting, Nebraska bans gay individuals and unmarried couples from adopting, and Utah blocks unmarried, cohabiting individuals from adopting.
Six states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey and New York – have laws or policies prohibiting discrimination against gay people in the adoption process.
Contrary to McCain’s suggestion, there are no studies showing that adopted children of gay couples find themselves in less successful families.
In fact, “30 years of scientifically valid research universally demonstrates that LGBT families are just as nurturing for children’s growth and development as heterosexual families,” said the Family Equality Council.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers all have issued statements supporting same-sex parents.
“Gay and lesbian parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide healthy and supportive environments for their children,” the APA has said.
The AAP has said “scientific literature demonstrates” that kids with gay parents “fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual. (They) seem to develop normally in every way.”
“In fact,” the group has said, “growing up with parents who are lesbian or gay may confer some advantages to children. They have been described as more tolerant of diversity and more nurturing toward younger children than children whose parents are heterosexual.”
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) accused McCain of having “an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like.”
“Sen. McCain’s position is out of sync with the research and science and out of step with what is in the best interests of children waiting for a home and a family,” said Executive Director Jody Huckaby. “We are disappointed and saddened that a public leader who is himself an adoptive father would deny the children in America’s foster care system the opportunity to thrive as part of a welcoming family.”
On July 15, McCain’s communications director, Jill Hazelbaker, attempted to backpedal on McCain’s statement to the Times. “McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue, just as he made it clear in the interview that marriage is a state issue,” she said. “He was not endorsing any federal legislation. McCain’s expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible. However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative.”