As many of us know, Thursday, Mar. 31 was a momentous day in America’s history as a federal judge ruled against Mississippi’s 16-year-old ban on same-sex adoption. This ruling has made it legal for all couples within the U.S. to adopt children, regardless of what the adopting couple’s gender is.
Junior Erin Claflin, 20, was glad to hear the news.
“I was excited,” Claflin said. “Personally I’ve grown up with a lot of LGBT friends and have been somewhat involved in the gay community and I’ve never had any personal moral opposition to it, so it’s good news for me.”
The ruling came after U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled for four couples that had sued in the United States District Court back in 2015 on the grounds that the ban was unconstitutional, violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause, especially after the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage on June 26, 2015 by a 5-to-4 vote and benefits for gay couples.
The four same-sex couples: Janet Smith and Donna Phillips, Kari Lunsford and Tinora Sweeten-Lunsford, Kathryn Garner and Susan Hrostowski, and Brittany Rowell and Jessica Harbuck were backed by the Campaign for Southern Equality and the Family Equality Council.
The Campaign for Southern Equality is an advocacy group based out of Asheville, North Carolina that works in the South to promote LGBT equality. The Family Equality Council is another advocacy group that “connects, supports, and represents the three million parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer” in America.
What is ironic about this ruling however, is that it came the same week that Mississippi’s Senate approved the House Bill 1523 that allows businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on their religious beliefs. Mississippi isn’t the only place where people oppose gay marriage adoption either.
Here are what some people are saying about the decision:
Anyone else oppose gay adoption? #eltonjohn
— MatchbookThieves (@EWThief153) April 11, 2016
Saying that an lgbt couple can’t adopt because they’re gay is like saying that a vegetarian can’t adopt because they don’t eat meat.
— Zoe Hovinga (@thegreatzoinski) April 5, 2016
According to the Pew Research Center, there are about 24 countries that currently have laws that allow same-sex marriage. Many of these countries are in Europe and the Americas, as well as some jurisdictions in Mexico. According to BBC, in 2014 there were still seven countries in the world where homosexuality was punishable by death and over 30 countries where it was punished by imprisonment. Here is a link showing the different countries and their policies around the world.
While some individuals and religions regard homosexuality as a sin, Claflin disagrees.
“For the longest time I thought it was ridiculous that people were opposing gay marriage legally in the United States, but then punishing somebody for the way they were born in such an extreme manner such as physical punishment is just beyond my comprehension,” Claflin said.
In America, homosexuality hasn’t been legally punishable by death since the 17th century and hasn’t been punishable by imprisonment since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Sodomy Laws in June of 2003. That doesn’t mean that homosexuality was or is accepted by everyone. Here is a link showing how gay rights have spread around the world over the last 224 years.
Most recently debates involving gay rights have been about whether or not having two parents of the same sex negatively affects the child whether it be socially, academically, psychologically and the overall well-being of the child along with whether or not homosexuality is religiously problematic.
“Punishing somebody for the way they were born in such an extreme manner such as physical punishment is just beyond my comprehension.”
Junior, Erin Claflin
In studies done focusing on these topics, there didn’t seem to be any difference in how the child performed in school, socially or any other way compared to children of heterosexual parents. In a 2013 study from Tufts University, Boston Medical Center and the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health children performed just fine and that not allowing same-gender parents to marry added more stress to the family.
“Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma. Many studies have demonstrated that children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents. Lack of opportunity for same-gender couples to marry adds to families’ stress, which affects the health and welfare of all household members.”
Though children generally seem unaffected by having parents of the same gender in the long run, that doesn’t mean that they don’t struggle with bullying or explaining it to their peers.
Zach Wahls, a now 24-year-old American son of lesbian couple Terry Wahls (his biological mother) and her partner Jackie Reger, spoke about what growing up was like to the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in a public hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa on January 31, 2011. While he was advocating for gay rights, he did mention that it was difficult to explain to his peers growing up that he had two moms instead of a mom and a dad. Some of his peers were even forbidden to interact with him once their parents found out.
Here is his speech:
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story was updated to have different Tweets.