This question remains an issue that is controversial and must be addressed in a positive manner. Recently, an Alberta couple was denied the opportunity to adopt a child because their religious beliefs were against homosexuality and gay parenting. The Alberta government, as well as the Roman Catholic Church, were in agreement that the prospective parents would not provide a home of inclusion and indeed would preach that LGBTQ folks should not be allowed to be parents.
The evangelical Christian couple is accusing the Alberta government of discrimination, insisting their application to adopt was rejected because of their religious views on gay marriage and homosexuality. Having passed the required course for potential adoptive parents, they ran into trouble when questioned about sexuality, saying that they “don’t support gay marriage and believe homosexuality is wrong.”
Asked how they would deal with a child who questioned his/her sexuality they said, “Sexuality should not be experienced or explored until a person is an adult and is married.”
The decision to reject adoption was the proper conclusion. In 2015, the Nova Scotia Government urged LGBTQ families to be foster parents in an attempt to involve such families and individuals in our society. A long-awaited decision, this was a step in the right direction.
There was much opposition by various individuals, especially by those within the religious right.
Hundreds of youngsters are in desperate need to find foster homes, and to deny children to be placed in LGBTQ foster homes denies them also the opportunity to be loved, feel secure and happy. We are ready and willing to take in foster children and provide the care needed to give them a home and lessen the burden that threatens those who are most vulnerable. Adoption or foster families, the love, care and security is imperative to the well-being of individuals, and brightens the outlook for a more productive and secure future that would otherwise be denied.
Governments across this country allow adoption and foster care by LGBTQ people, and rightfully so. The religious evangelical right continues opposition to all aspects concerning the LGBTQ community and in doing so keeps the fires of intolerance burning brightly. They ignore the fact, or simply imply, that we do not choose our sexual orientation, be it homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. If one agrees with their decision then one assumes that they choose their sexuality, but will deny that fact.
Sexual orientation, according to scientific research, is well ingrained before birth. Some feel that the environment in our childhood has a bearing on our sexual identity. Regardless, we are who we are, and that my friends must be respected. If not, then discrimination will forever be part of our existence.
Those who oppose the LGBTQ members of our society should remember that we do not choose our sexuality. Why would we open ourselves to ridicule, abuse and violence, and watch as many young LGBTQ people commit suicide because of total rejection by parents, especially those from evangelical right-wing Christian families and other religious doctrines?
We stand together and invite all who respect the uniqueness of each individual to join us in the challenges toward an understanding and inclusive society. Imagine the peace, contentment and love that would certainly trump hate and intolerance. I invite the religious right to accept and embrace the LGBTQ community and discover we are all the same somehow. Adoption or foster care, it matters not as all are entitled to happiness. Love is all it takes to be a family.
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Gerard Veldhoven is a longtime activist for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. His column appears Wednesdays in The News.