Don't place children with gay parents

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Among all the excitement and congratulations following June 1, the day that gay and lesbian couples could enter civil unions, there is another story that is going largely unnoticed. Also on June 1, all adoption and foster agencies that receive public funding will be required to place children with gay, lesbian or cohabitating couples in spite of their religious beliefs — or shut down. Already the Diocese of Rockport has stopped its adoption and foster services, and 58 employees were let go.

One has to wonder how long it will be before the other dioceses in Illinois follow suit. Catholic Charities provides roughly 20 percent of all adoptions in Illinois. Losing this resource will be a tremendous blow to the children who need it.

This is not about civil rights. Having a child is not a right but a privilege, and adoption or foster agencies have the obligation to act in the best interests of the child. Many of these agencies do not feel it is in the best interests of the child to place him or her with a same-sex or cohabitating couple.

There are 50 adoption agencies and over 70 foster agencies registered with DCFS, many of whom, I am sure, would be happy to work with a gay or lesbian couple. The Cradle in Evanston, is one such place. I have visited their website. Their adoptive parents-to-be are gay, straight and single. Many other adoption agencies had gay or lesbian couples on their list of prospective parents.

Instead of encouraging gay and lesbian couples to find an agency willing to work with them, the supporters of this ironically named "Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" want to force faith-based organizations to go against their beliefs or shut down. These are the same people who call for tolerance and diversity. We now know just how tolerant they are.

Note: I am adopted myself and am Catholic.

Carolyn Righeimer
Oak Park

Reader Comments

17 Comments - Add Your Comment

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jo  

Posted: June 26th, 2011 8:02 PM

Actually, there are quite a few recent studies that state that children with gay parents are better adjusted than those with straight parents. You can look it up, bit this is a start: http://www.alternet.org/rights/22199/

Happy  

Posted: June 25th, 2011 12:05 PM

Lets be truthful here: Gay couples can be just as dysfunctional as straight couples. Some gay couples would be better suited for adoption JUST as some straight couples would be better suited for adoption.

jo  

Posted: June 25th, 2011 3:41 AM

@adopted parent, you said, "all the evidence indicates that children do best who grow up with a mother and a father. You obviously haven't been reading up on the topic, because there is a mountain of evidence from studies that children of gay parents grow up very well adjusted, and that it is the nature of attachments, not the sex of the parents, that matters most in raising well-adjusted children.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 11:35 PM

Why would want to deny children a chance to grow up in a loving home? Is it your religious beliefs you think give you license to sanction discrimination? That does not represent a reasoned thought process.

Adopted parent  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 11:05 PM

The state does have a unique responsibility when placing children for adoption. That's why they measure floor space and do criminal background checks. All the evidence indicates that children do best who grow up with a mother and a father. We do not yet understand the long term ramifications for children who grow up with same sex parents. The state should not be gambling with the lives of children who have already suffered the loss of their biological parents to validate gay relationships.

Well...we're waiting!  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 2:12 PM

Still waiting to hear the reaction to this from Village Hall and how C.C.'s stance impacts its ability to "partner" in the housing project that is to be located in the Madison Business District...

Carol  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 1:31 PM

I would also note that other agencies are already stepping in to fill the relatively small gap left by the Catholic (un)Charities. It's a win-win situation, really, because non-discriminating agencies will receive the benefit of the public funding that would have gone to support the Catholic adoption services, hopefully allowing them to employ more people.

Carol  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 1:28 PM

I think the writer may be confused. No one is "forcing" any of these agencies to violate their religious beliefs. If Catholic Charities wants to discriminate, they are allowed to do so, but only on their own dime.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 8:12 AM

And the author should consider the implications of a statement like, "Having a child is not a right but a privilege[.]" If that is so, then what principle would prevent the government from limiting the number of children that women may bear or that couples may have, as has been done in countries such as China? Or perhaps even forcing persons who are deemed unfit to be sterilized?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: June 24th, 2011 8:06 AM

Though it is true that the author does not expressly state the view that children should not be placed with gay parents, she is defending agencies whose view is precisely that. In any event, it is not true that adoptive agencies are being forced to place kids with gay parents or else be shut down. As others have pointed out, it is only a matter of whether the agencies receive federal tax dollars. Isn't the Catholic Church one of the wealthiest institutions on the face of the earth?

So Tired of This from River Forest  

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 10:16 AM

One more time...we are a secular nation made up of religious and non-religious people. We are governed under federal and state constitutions that are products of the Enlightenment, not products of one religious tradition or another. Those constitutions call for equality under the law for all citizens. We allow private, tax-exempt organizations to make their own rules except when they accept public funding for their activities. It's really that simple.

jo  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 12:58 PM

I am not a biblical scholar by any means, but where does it say in the Bible that gay people shouldn't care for children?

Phil from Kingston, IL  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 12:37 PM

Just to clarify, it was the Diocese of Rockford, not Rockport, as was erroneously stated in an article. Also, those cases that were handled by Catholic Charities of Rockford have been transferred to Youth Service Bureau of Ottawa, IL, along with their caseworkers. If you want to take taxpayer money, you can't discriminate against any of those taxpayers, which is what Catholic Charities was doing.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 12:10 PM

Perhaps rather than shut down, Catholic Charities should get their followers (like the writer) to put their money where their mouth is and make up for the loss of the precious taxpayer money. Since they cannot use public funds to further their religious beliefs (i.e. no gay adoption), have a second collection, or sell some assets so they can further their homophobic mission.

Chuck Anziulewicz from Spring Hill, West Virginia, USA  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 10:41 AM

As a law-abiding, taxpaying Gay American, I strongly object to my tax dollars funding organizations that discriminate against Gay couples, just a Catholics would object to their tax dollars funding organizations that discriminate against Catholics. Catholic Charities of Boston went through this years ago. When they stopped placing orphans with Gay couples, they were given a choice: Stop discriminating or give up the public funding. You want to feed at the public trough, play by the rules!

Ronnie100 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 22nd, 2011 10:02 AM

I agree with Marge that this headline is misleading and unfair. Is the headline writer injecting their own bias into this? Ms. Righeimer wrote a very thoughtful, eloquent piece, whether you agree with her position on this issue or not. As an adoptive parent, this issue is one on which I've personally gone back and forth. The WJ does everyone a disservice by trying to inject vitriol into a sensitive topic. I expect more from you.

Marge from Oak Park  

Posted: June 21st, 2011 11:38 PM

This headline is very misleading and unfair to the writer of the letter.

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