Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ordoñez's Battle to Overcrowd the Orphanages

Gay U.S. journalist Chandler Burr and two Colombian boys
he adopted. A recent court ruling would seem to open
the way for more adoptions by gays.
Alejandro Ordoñez, Colombia's inspector general, is determined to reverse a court decision confirming the right of a reporter with the New York Times who happens to be gay to adopt two Colombian boys.

Tuesday's court ruling is almost irrelevent to this specific case, since the boys are already with their adoptive father in the United States, and he wouldn't likely have brought them back in any case.

But it has the potential to enable thousands of Colombian orphans to find loving homes - if Ordoñez doesn't stand in their way.

Ordoñez is an arch-conservative, allied with the Catholic Church hierarchy, who also wants abortion banned, even in the very limited cases in which it's legal in Colombia: rape, incest, when the pregnancy endangers the woman's life and when the fetus has a severe malformation.

Abortion prohibition produces dangerous illicit abortions and unwanted children, some of whom surely end up in orphanages - where they'll be more likely to stay, since Ordoñez won't allow gays to adopt them.

Chandler Burr, the U.S. journalist who adopted the two boys, responded to the favorable court ruling by saying he hoped that it would enable more of the 30,000 orphans waiting in Colombian institutions to find loving families.

Colombia has been a secular nation since 1991. And I haven't heard Ordoñez offer any sort of objective evidence of why gays shouldn't be allowed to adopt. But I have seen various studies finding that gays make fine parents - in fact, children raised by lesbian couples appear to outperform the average kids - perhaps because adoptive parents are very committed and because mothers tend to dedicate more time to  their children than fathers do.

This may be particularly true for hard-to-adopt older children like the boys Burr adopted.

A 2010 study by academics from U.S. universities of children raised by homosexual and heterosexual couples found that "our results are consistent with notions that two parents of the same gender can be capable parents and that parental sexual orientation is not related to parenting skill or child adjustment.

"It appears that more children could potentially benefit from having permanent homes with capable parents if lesbian and gay adults were allowed to adopt," the study concluded.

Ordoñez, of course, has every right to his personal religious beliefs. But he has no right to turn them into public policy - especially at the expense of Colombia's children. 

Update Addendum: Interesting, yesterday the Constitutional Court ruled that it was illegal to prohibit public displays of affection by same-sex couples - presumably, as long as displays of affection by heterosexual couples are allowed. I understand that the ruling said something about the duration of the kissing, so maybe security guards will be stop-watching public smooching.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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