Sep 14, 2010

Rundle: against male same-sex couple adoption

To not have a father, because they were distant or absent from the start by choice is a sad thing for most kids. To not have a mother for the same reason seems somehow abominable.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


God, oh God, something like a quarter of the world still lacks access to running water, basic medical care, and 2000 calories a day. So in the scheme of things, the passage of the NSW adoption Bill 46-44, is a small matter.

Yet, on the other hand of course, it isn’t. It represents an enormous change in our understanding of what rules and conditions society should set. Furthermore, it’s an issue that’s not easily compared or assimilated to others.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

72 thoughts on “Rundle: against male same-sex couple adoption

  1. Carol Bruce

    Thank you Guy for a thought provoking article. Obviously very well researched. It certainly made me stop and think this scenario through. I guess people are all for equality etc, but sometimes it is necessary to look at the big picture. Well done.

  2. Gareth Perkins

    Crikey, you’ve lost me.

  3. reb of Hobart

    Wow! What a load of bollocks thinly disguised as intellectual pontificating.

    Sure, who wouldn’t disagree that the ideal upbringing for a new born infant is with both biological parents providing that they are both capable of providing a loving supportive environment for the baby concerned.

    The reality is that there are many children languishing in temporary care, often being moved from foster home to foster home and subject to physical, psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of unfit step-parents, relatives or friends of relatives.

    Would these children not benefit from a more supportive and loving environment that could be provided by a couple of the same gender, rather than being abused and shoved from pillar to post in a dysfunctional hetero household or as wards of the State?

    Honestly, I usually enjoy reading your articles, but your ignorance on this issue leaves me gobsmacked.

  4. amy c

    Look, I ususally love Rundle but this struck me as anything but well-researched.
    Is there any evidence for any vitally important connection between mother and baby besides for breastfeeding (which the majority of women don’t do for anywhere near long enough anyway)?
    And even if there was, is there any evidence at all that this has any long-lasting effects on the child, or any effects at all the child will even remember?
    This just strikes me as a stongly-held opinion of Rundle’s only very loosely backed up by some theory. An opinion that, if wrong, is extremely hurtful to many people. TO be honest I’m kind of disappointed.

  5. Jim Reiher

    Are you saying then at a certain age, kids could then be adopted by same sex male couples? Is this argument you are using, just for babies? Or to the age of no more breast feeding?

    Also: realistically… I belive it takes about 12 years to actually adopt in Australia (is that still the case?) By allowing male or female same sex couples to adopt in NSW, does that mean that none actually will adopt till 2022? Do they just go to the end of the list? (I would imagine so… otherwise that would be an act of queue jumping, and we all know how incidious that is).

  6. New Cassandra

    Good argument Guy but it has been totally disproved by the gay couple in Modern Family. One of the “fathers” just has to be fat and cuddly.
    TV never lies.

  7. John

    Rundle, you’ve dropped your bundle!
    The majority of male-male couple adoptions will be of known children and not necessarily what you would describe as infants.
    Some known children will be the biological children of one of the men.
    Other known children will often be older and difficult foster children whom the men have successfully fostered for a couple of years at least.
    The other likely scenarios are adoption of relatives such as nieces and nephews who have been orphaned.
    Despite your prejudice against the law being drafted in as close to an anti-discriminatory fashion as was politically possible, there will still be a queue for the preferred perfect darling newborn adoptions, and the male-male couples will be at the back of the queue. They might be considered for the babies who none of the other couples want. You know, the sick and damaged ones. They won’t even get a ticket number for overseas adoptions!
    The only likely new born adoptees will be by private surrogate arrangemnets. You know, where the men jerk off into a jar and a willing women impregnates herself and then hands back the baby.
    Rundle, why don’t you read up on it before you pontificate?

  8. Tank

    Sorry Guy, doesn’t fly, for a few reasons.

    The first is, as others point out – that you’re talking about infants, and infant adoptions make up a tiny, tiny percentage of total adoptions. A lot of adoptions are of much older children, whereby the kinds of issues you raise about infant-mother bonding and such ceases to apply. In any event, the work that adoption agencies do to match parents to children is extremely detailed. In all cases, the best interests of the child are considered. I feel very confident that an adoption agency could decide that it may not be in the best interests of a particular child that they go to a male same-sex couple – there is no need to blanketly ban all male same-sex couples.

    Your argument also overlooks the fact that the essential baby-female mother bond you’re talking about is broken already for children who are up for adoption. Their birth mother who they bonded with (or in many cases didn’t bond with) is already long gone, and I suspect it would be a long bow to draw to say that they would establish a new bond of equal importance and significance with another female figure. It is important that the child develop strong attachment relationships, but the gender of who the attach too later in their young lives is unimportant.

    The other problem I have with this argument is that it is constructed based on essentialist gender notions. How are you constructing the all important female/mother figure you say each child needs? Could a transwoman be that mother? Or could a transman, given his XX chromosomes? Where would an intersex person fit? The second you realise that actually the world doesn’t neatly divide up into ‘male’ and ‘female’, is the second this whole argument of yours runs into some troubles.

    Finally – same-sex adoption (including male same-sex adoption) has been legal in WA since 2002.
    No fundamental or seismic socio-legal shifts have occured.

  9. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    But to deprive a child of a figure it can call a mother, a female with whom it has had a pre-linguistic, bodily relationship, that strikes me as an utterly different type of act, a wrong against the child — and in that respect same-s-x male adoption should be ruled beyond the bounds of what we permit culturally and legally.

    I’ve known quite a few people who’ve been deprived of their mothers at an early age – or in my wife’s case, during labor. Yet most have grown up to be well adjusted individuals. Some people have to manage without a mother, and find they can.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details