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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adoption is a controversial issue in family law circles all over the world. There are moral and economic arguments both in support and against allowing LGBT adoption. Though many jurisdictions still prohibit the adoption of children by LGBT couples, the trend is that more and more areas are removing their prohibition of such adoptions. Increasingly, courts are finding that it is not in the best interests of the child to disallow LGBT adoption.
In discussing the issue of LGBT adoption, one must understand the “best interests of the child” standard, which is the standard by which most jurisdictions all over the world decide family law cases involving children. The “best interests of the child” standard simply states that the decision made by the court must, in light of the facts in the present case, make the decision that reflects the best interests of the child. This is a very flexible standard that is heavily dependent upon the circumstances involving each individual case. Generally, this is the question at the center of the LGBT adoption debate.
The main argument made by those against LGBT adoption is that the child would better benefit from having a traditional core family with both a mother and a father. Those who disagree counter with the argument that allowing LGBT adoption does not in fact take children out of these traditional homes. Rather, because there are more children than prospective adoptive families the alternative for the children whom LGBT parents adopt is foster care or an orphanage, which they argue is clearly less beneficial than a non-traditional family.
The crux of the LGBT community’s argument against the prohibition of LGBT adoption goes well beyond the practical implications on the child. LGBT couples often frame the argument in terms of civil rights — i.e., since it is a fundamental right to be a parent in most jurisdictions, the prohibition of LGBT adoption is a violation of that right. Opponents of LGBT adoption counter this argument with the point that adoption by LGBT couples is outside this right and the right specifically refers to heterosexual procreation.
The global trend with regard to both of these arguments is that of removing the prohibition of LGBT adoption. Courts all over the world are finding that it is in the best interests of the child to allow it. Additionally, many jurisdictions are finding that it is in violation of the rights of the prospective LGBT parents to disallow them from adopting based on their sexual orientation.