SORS – The Adoptee’s Perspective

I was struck by James Parker’s comment on Ruth’s latest blog piece:

As a man who was adopted as a child and who used to be gay and fully lived the gay lifestyle, I have to wholeheartedly disagree with Ben Summerskill’s angle on lesbians and gays adopting children. For a child to be taken away from its biological father and mother, from whom it is created, can often be traumatic enough. For lawmakers and society at large to then hoodwink the same child into believing that two men or two women can provide the necessary maternal and paternal love and care needed for it to mature into a balanced identity is at best deeply delusional and at worst further destructive to the child’s well-being. The primary need of an adopted child, and the most suitable environment, is a healthy experience of family where commitment and balanced parenting can be received. This place is the marriage of a man and woman.

James of course did an “ex-gay” fringe with me at General Synod a few weeks ago. Have a read of the main section of what Ruth is reporting. Tonight will see a Commons discussion on the SORS and then Wednesday sees it’s passage through the Lords. Will it be railroaded like last week?

As we report today, the Sexual Orientation Regulations are in the news again. As those few MPs who were still around learned late on Friday night, they are being voted on by the Commons tonight. They will then go to the House of Lords on Wednesday. More than 40 lay members of the General Synod signed an open letter sent yesterday, Sunday, to the Church of England’s bishops. They are angry about what they regard as an abuse of Parliamentary process as well as substance. The passions aroused by this debate do not diminish. A alternative view of what is going on comes from one of the leading campaigners supporting the regulations, Ben Summerskill of Stonewall.

Ben, says, ‘Once again we’re seeing regrettably inflammatory and inaccurate claims being made in the defence of age-old prejudices. These campaigners wish to put a coach and horses through the settled principle of adoption, that it should be based on the best interests of a child, not the prejudices of those involved in the adoption process. It is regrettable that bishops have threatened, completely unnecessarily, to close adoption agencies and understandable that some parliamentarians have regarded this position as bullying. Many lesbian and gay couples already adopt. Often they are looking after some of the most disabled children. Those loving adoptive parents should be being lionized by people claiming to be Christian, not demonised in this way. It is untrue that there was not enough room for members to attend the Committee hearing into these regulations last week. The only reason for confusion during the debate was the near-constant barracking and shouting in which some MPs were engaged. It was one of the most disturbing sights I’ve witnessed in some years.’

The whole debate has been picked up by Thinking Anglicans and others. In their letter, the Synod members say: ‘As we observe the process in Government and Parliament leading up to the debate on Sexual Orientation Regulations in the House of Lords on Wednesday, the fears expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in your pages on October 26 following his visit to China look perilously close to becoming a reality. ‘He wrote: ” We in the UK do not have anything like this history of top-down rule by regulation. We have in practice taken for granted that the State is not the source of morality and legitimacy but a system that brokers, mediates and attempts to co-ordinate the moral resources of those specific communities, the merely local and the credal or issue-focused, which actually make up the national unit. This is a “secular” system in the sense that it does not impose legal and civil disabilities on any one religious body; but it is not secular in the sense of giving some kind of privilege to a non-religious or anti-religious set of commitments or policies. Moving towards the latter would change our political culture more radically than we imagine. “

‘Given the great significance of this vote, many people would understand that the responsibility that Bishops undertake as members of the House of Lords requires them on such occasions to vary their crowded timetable in order to attend the debate. Many Christians will be praying outside Parliament at the same time, giving up other activities that could rightly claim their attention. ‘We also note the spirited defence made last week of the role of the Bishops in the House of Lords by the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Chelmsford. Important substance would be given to their words if all the Bishops in the Lords were to attend to vote. ‘May we respectfully suggest that all Bishops should regard it a duty to attend and vote in this important debate.’

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