A recent conversation with a friend went something like this:
"Homosexuality isn't normal," he said. "It goes against nature."
"How do you figure?" I asked. "As far as we know, homosexuality always has existed. Wouldn't that indicate that it's perfectly natural?"
"No, it's not," he replied. "Imagine if we were all homosexuals. Then what would happen to the human race?"
It always seems to come back to fear. No matter how unemotionally we try to address homosexuality, we can't seem to stop ourselves from reverting to our most basic instincts, which for many involves an aversion to accepting homosexuality on an even keel with heterosexuality. It's as if, at our most primal core, we are programmed to ensure the survival of the species by procreating, and we fear that homosexuality threatens that survival.
We may become indignant at the thought of someone being violently targeted because of sexual orientation. Some may even believe gay couples should be allowed to marry. But throw children – our future – into the mix, and even many progressives stutter. Should gays be allowed to adopt and raise our children? More telling, does it matter to you at all whether your own child grows up to be gay?
Society's feelings about homosexuality are once again at the forefront of a public policy decision. The Legislature is considering two bills by Sen. Nan Rich of Weston to overturn the state's 32-year-old ban on gay adoption. That's on the heels of a recent Miami court ruling striking down the ban. That decision is on appeal.
No matter how much we try to simplify it, it's a complex issue with few universal truths. And that is precisely why Rich is on the right track. One of her bills repeals the gay-adoption ban. The other requires that a primary consideration in adoption cases be the child's best interest, acknowledging that the issue requires thoughtfulness, not a blanket approach.
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