17 August 2008

Side Effects of Gay Marriage

Now that it's been a bit since the Prop 8 thing started, I've been doing a little reading here and there on the issue. I consider myself the ideal centrist when it comes to politics, because I'm not so pig-headed one way or the other on issues that I'm not willing to see what the other side has to say. I'm willing to do research or discuss an issue, and change my opinion on it as I gain further knowledge and understanding. I learned something today that put a little bit of an itch in me to change my views on Prop 8. Not enough to convince me to vote yes, but it made me start thinking in even broader terms about the issue.

An innocent bystander that will be hurt by the legalization of gay marriage is adoption. But, not in the way you may be thinking right now. No, I don't think that a gay couple is any less capable of raising a child. That's not the issue. The issue with adoption is that of the social services that exist to place children in homes.

Religious organizations are a HUGE avenue for adoption. I couldn't find any real numbers on it, but when you look at the number of adoption agencies there are out there it certainly seems that the Catholics, Mormons and Evangelical Christians bear the larger burden of placing children in loving homes. The government is heavily reliant on these non-profit organizations to do this charitable work.

Due to the beliefs in traditional family structure, these organizations do not place children in homes of gay couples (I've heard, but not verified, that they usually don't place children into homes of single people either - but I could be wrong on that). Because of this fact, the Catholic, Mormon and Evangelical Christian groups that deal with adoption have withdrawn their services from the state of Massachusetts. The have done this because of discrimination lawsuits that have arisen since the legalization of gay marriage there. They refuse to place children in the homes of gay couples due to their religious stances, and the ACLU is going to town on them under the banner of anti-discrimination. So, to not get tangled up in legal battles like that, they have elected to withdraw their services from that state.

That is really sad to me to think that there are so many children in that state that no longer have the support of so many adoption agencies to try and place them in loving homes, due to those agencies fears of being exposed to costly lawsuits. Now those children have to wait on state resources, and waiting on the state to do something for you is never a good thing.

I'm all for equal legal protection of same-sex couples under the law. Heck, even the church in it's statement last week about it's stance against gay marriage was willing to concede state-recognized legal rights for those couples:

The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference. The Divine Institution of Marriage

But, I want those equal rights to come in such a way so that they don't infringe on other people's rights to continue practicing their religions they way they choose to. Why can't same-sex couples in California be content with the fact that they have pretty much every right that married couples do, even if it's not called "marriage"?

Score one for the "Yes on 8" group.