A British minister is the latest politician to weigh in to the UK marriage equality and adoption debate by claiming that LGBT parents cannot provide a “warm and safe” environment for raising children.
The comments, made by David Jones, Secretary of State for Wales, emerged at the same time a study in Ireland found that gay parents face “significant discrimination” in their daily lives as a result of public policy and service deficits. Many even encounter prejudice from their own families.
Strikingly, one in 6 Irish LGBT parents have no legal relationship with their child despite having an active parenting role, a Parents in Ireland study found. Participants noted that legalizing same-sex marriage would make a huge difference for LGBT families with the greater legal protection that it brings.
It also highlighted that particular discrimination was borne by transgender parents. Worryingly, the source of prejudices was generally from family members.
“Trans parents experienced significant discrimination in terms of acceptance, hostile reactions and sustained negative attitudes, primarily from family members,” according to the research.
The study revealed that negative perceptions and views regarding LGBT parents remain widespread however. Almost half of respondents admitted being discriminated against in the last five years.
“There are plenty of parents who won’t let their kids come and play in my house [with my kids],” one contributor commented.
The research did show that level of homophobic school bullying directed at children of gay parents was low. This experience is echoed in a UK context by Charlie Condou in his ‘Comment is free’ piece for the Guardian.
“The attitudes we’ve encountered at school gates have been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had no trouble arranging playmates and getting on with other parents on an equal footing. Society has changed for the better, it seems,” he states.
Condou also gives an insight into the tough parenting decisions being made by LGBT parents, in response to Jones’ statement.
“The irony is that same-sex couples think really hard about having kids. They go over every possible scenario for a long time, weighing up whether its the right time and the right thing to do. Partly for this reason, they can be among the most committed and responsible parents,” he added.