The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has applied to intervene and assist the Supreme Court while hearing the various petitions related to legalising same-sex marriage. It has raised concerns about the adoption of children by same-sex parents.
The statutory body stated that the Hindu Marriage Act and the Juvenile Justice Act do not recognise same-sex couple adoption. It further referred to provisions that bar single men from adopting a female child and said it would be against the scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.
NCPCR On Same-Sex Adoption
The NCPCR stated that "allowing adoption to a same-sex couple is akin to endangering the children," referring to studies that discovered children raised by heterosexual couples are more emotionally stable. It also stated that children raised by same-sex parents will have limited exposure to "traditional gender roles," and this will impact their understanding of "gender roles and gender identity" and limit their overall personal growth.
It’s distressing to hear such a regressive statement by one of the most important statutory body that works towards protecting children.
Children raised by same-sex parents might be vulnerable to bullying. Now that is a problem that needs to be addressed. We need to focus on how to make this society more compassionate and considerate towards people of all genders and sexual orientations. Instead, we are taking a step backward by failing to provide same-sex couples with the rights that they deserve! We need to get over homophobia and truly focus on the welfare of children.
How is it fair to prevent same-sex parents from adopting a child? They are human beings, and just because they have a partner of the same gender cannot be the one factor that deems them unfit to raise children. What is the guarantee that children raised by heterosexual couples turn out to be fine?
In 2021, 33,348 incidents of sexual assault crimes against children were reported under the POCSO Act: 33,036 girls and 312 boys. Most sexual crimes are committed by people known to the children, including the child’s own father.
Many cases of children being sexually assaulted at home by their fathers came to light, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. Remember the case of a 14-year-old girl whose father repeatedly raped her for a year? So, what is the guarantee that a child is safe with her or his biological father but is unsafe with an adoptive same-sex parent?
Secondly, what does the NCPCR mean by saying that children raised by same-sex couples will not understand "gender roles and gender identity?" Aren’t we supposed to be working towards eradicating "gender roles?" Hasn’t that done enough damage to society until now? Women all over are trying to smash patriarchal gender norms and roles. Can we at least build a better society for the future generation where our daughters don’t have to fight for quality all their lives?
Thirdly, gender identity is a person’s personal sense of their gender and cannot be influenced by any external force. It’s just about whether a person can correlate with the gender they are assigned or differ from it. If anything, a child raised by same-sex parents will be more inclusive towards people of all genders and sexual orientations. Why is this so difficult to understand? Or is internalised patriarchy holding back society from being more accepting and open-minded?
All a child needs is a safe environment to grow up in and people to raise them with unconditional love and affection. That could be a heterosexual couple, a same-sex couple, a single parent, or an extended family. If there is one thing that can endanger a child or raise an emotionally unstable child, it is being raised in an unhappy, abusive, and toxic environment.
It is estimated that 29.6 million children are stranded, orphaned, or abandoned in India. Only 4000 of them get adopted annually. The stigma surrounding adoption hinders many parents from adopting children. Amidst people who are willing to spend millions on IVF and surrogacy, shouldn’t we acknowledge couples who opt for adoption? Shouldn’t we be happy that orphaned children will get parental love through adoption regardless of the parents’ gender?
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