Melanie Phillips: 'Sickening assault on family life'
"When homosexuality was legalised back in 1967 did anyone dream that some four decades on a British grandmother and grandfather wanting to adopt their own grandchildren would be refused permission and the children adopted instead by two gay men?
The case in Edinburgh reported today, where precisely this grotesque development has occurred, illustrates the sickening way in which what started out as a decent attempt to be tolerant towards a minority lifestyle has turned into a totalitarian assault upon family life and human rights.
For two years these grandparents fought for their right to care for the children, a five-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister, whose 26-year-old mother is a recovering heroin addict. But at 46 and 59 they were ruled to be too old to adopt.
Reluctantly, therefore, they agreed to the children being adopted by another couple, on the basis they would be brought up by a loving mother and father figure. But although several heterosexual couples were available to adopt them, the children were handed over instead to two gay men.
When the devastated grandparents objected they were threatened that unless they dropped their opposition they would never see their grandchildren again on account of their ‘negative’ attitude towards gay adoption.
There are so many layers to this gross and terrifying abuse of power that one hardly knows where to start.
The reason why adoption is so successful at raising healthy, well-adjusted children is that it replicates as far as possible the biological mother and father whose presence in the family is so crucial to the well-being of their children.
The prevailing argument that all types of family are as good as each other as far as the children are concerned simply isn’t true. While some children emerge relatively unscathed from irregular households, children need to be brought up by the two people ‘who made me’ - or, in adoptive households, in a family which closely replicates that arrangement.
Where that does not happen, the child’s deepest sense of his or her identity as a human being is at some level damaged.
A child needs a mother and father because their roles in bringing that child up, and the way the child sees each of them, are not interchangeable. They are different and complementary, which is why if one of them is absent the child suffers, in many cases very badly indeed.
For very young children the absence of a mother, whose nurturing role cannot be replicated even by the most loving and attentive of fathers, is particularly tragic.
Therefore to say that depriving children of a mother figure is in their best interests - as the Edinburgh social workers have said - is clearly ridiculous.
Yes, in certain very unusual cases a lesbian couple or individual might be the best option for a child without a functioning family - if for example the child already has a particular attachment to such individuals, or if the only alternative is life in a children’s home.
But where an adoptive mother and father are available, to place children instead with two gay men is beyond perverse. Quite obviously, the interests of these children have been subordinated to politically correct considerations.
The powers invested in social workers to interfere in family life are extensive and draconian, and are granted only because of the acknowledged need to safeguard the interests of children against abusive family situations.
But in this case, it is Edinburgh social services department that has grossly abused its position of trust by intentionally placing these most vulnerable children in a position of disadvantage and maybe even harm for nothing other than ideological reasons.
Worse still, they have threatened and intimidated the children’s grandparents - for daring to object to a course of action for their own grandchildren which they think with good reason would be detrimental to them.
It is beyond pathetic to read the grandfather trying to protest that he is not ‘homophobic’ - all for having the temerity to say that his own grandchildren need a mother and father figure in their lives. For that he is branded a bigot.
Indeed, where ‘gay rights’ are concerned the old joke that what was once forbidden becomes in due course mandatory has now come all too true in post-morality Britain.
Despite the fact that gay adoption is opposed by most people - polls suggest that some 90 per cent are opposed in Scotland - the law that enabled it was rammed through Parliament with the help, to their eternal shame, of the politically correct Cameroons. Ever since, it has been promoted assiduously by left-wing councils – some of which forbid adoption by smokers and obese people but actively support gay fostering and adoption.
Such people routinely claim that research shows there are no adverse outcomes for children from same-sex adoption. These claims are totally untrue. The fact is that there are virtually no studies of children adopted by gay couples - or raised by male same-sex couples. In general, studies of same-sex child rearing are in turn extremely thin on the ground and methodologically too unsound to be authoritative.
Nevertheless they do suggest cause for concern: their emerging theme seems to be that children raised by same-sex couples exhibit poor outcomes not so dissimilar to those raised by divorced heterosexual parents.
While such studies can’t be relied upon they can’t be dismissed either. An American account published 20 years described what happened when a male child was conceived by a surrogate mother for two homosexual men. They hired various nannies to help look after the child - who developed severe behavioural problems, fantasising about ‘buying a new mother’ because of his profound need for a mother figure in his life.
But even to raise such concerns is to run the gauntlet of shrieks of ‘homophobia’. Such vilification is designed for one purpose - to stigmatise and thus silence altogether all opposition as ‘bigotry’.
The underlying agenda behind gay adoption, as it is behind the whole gay rights movement, is nothing to do with protecting the rights of gay people. Were it really so, there would be no objection. No-one should be discriminated against simply on the grounds of his or her sexuality.
That does not mean, however, that gay lifestyles must be regarded as of equal value to heterosexual households when it comes to the raising of children. To say that anyone who makes such a distinction is prejudiced is to turn reality on its head.
But that is indeed the whole point of the gay rights movement - to destroy the very notion of heterosexual norms of sexual behaviour and the definition of the family so that gay lifestyles can present themselves as ‘normal’.
This in turn is part of the broader onslaught upon the Judeo-Christian principles upon which British society and western civilisation are based, which has been mounted now for decades by ideologues of the left and which has progressively eviscerated family life on the altar of individual ‘lifestyle choice’.
The result is a world turned on its head in which what is harmful is said to be good and what is good is said to be harmful; tolerance has turned into gross intolerance; and upholding human rights has turned into an onslaught upon human rights.
The hapless Scottish grandparents are but the latest victims of a brutal totalitarian dogma, which anyone with an ounce of real liberal principle should denounce for the attack on justice, humanity and common-sense that it undoubtedly is."