The issue has been brought into focus by the decision of Edinburgh's social services to remove two young children from their grandparents and place them for adoption with two homosexual men. The reasons given are that the grandparents, at 59 and 46, are too old, and both suffer from health problems, namely angina and diabetes. Social services rejected several heterosexual couples, declaring that the two homosexual men would provide a caring and loving home for the children. Current legislation makes no distinction between homosexual and heterosexual adopters, and so similar decisions could be taken by any local authority regardless of political control. This decision raises two important issues, the rights of grandparents and other close kin on adoption, and the suitability of same sex couples to adopt.
It should be said that the grandparents do not appear to have been wholly successful in their child rearing. The mother of the children is a 26 year old former heroin addict who was on methadone substitute. The children are from two different fathers, one committed suicide and the other has abandoned his child. Nevertheless, the fecklessness and stupidity of the mother is not something that the grandparents can necessarily be blamed for, given that the full circumstances are not known.
The reasons given by social services for not allowing the grandparents to adopt are clearly bogus, since many couples of this age and with health problems make good parents. There should be a strong presumption that grandparents, and other close kin, should adopt, unless there are very clear reasons to the contrary. In the current case the children have bonded with the grandparents, and allowing them to adopt would also enable the mother to remain in contact and perhaps resume her parenting if she overcomes her addiction.
It is clear that social services have chosen these two homosexual men for politically correct ideological reasons, and probably also to meet government targets for adoption by same sex couples. During consultations, over 90% of respondents opposed homosexual adoption, and a similar proportion of those commenting on newspaper websites appear to share this view. A future government should legislate to ensure that all adoptions are to married heterosexual couples as the evidence overwhelmingly shows that they will provide the best guarantee of stability and security, as well a being consistent with what nature intended namely providing a mother and father.