Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

The Morality of Gay Adoption



On Tuesday night, December 14, Rosie O’Donnell and I will be
conducting a public conversation in New Jersey about families and kids, the
celebrity culture and the affects of fame, balancing work and career, and
learning how to inspire our children.


It’s a subject Rosie is eminently qualified to address. This is, after
all, the woman who walked away from one of television’s most successful
programs and tens of millions dollars per year in order to raise her children.
It will be followed by a fundraiser for Turn Friday Night Into Family Night,
our national campaign to create weekly family dinners so that children are
prioritized in the lives of their parents.



When I told a religious friend about being inspired by Rosie adopting
four children, he said to me, “How sad that these kids are never going to have
a father.” Lost on him was the irony that without Rosie they would not have a
mother either.


Now, Rosie has a media microphone and can fend for herself. But I
think about all the other gay adoptive parents who are under assault as being
ill-equipped to adopt. We’ve heard all the arguments. Gay parents who adopt
will make their children gay (offensive and stupid). Every child deserves a
mother and a father (I addressed this above). Gay is an abomination, to which I
would respond that leaving a child to grow up in an orphanage where nobody
wants them might be an even greater act of sacrilege.


But to my fellow straight people I offer
the following challenge. You have every right to oppose gay marriage. It’s a
free country. We don’t suppress opinions. But aren’t you under a moral
obligation to adopt the children in their stead? Surely leaving kids to drown
without love is deeply immoral. But to stop others from rescuing them is an

I am the father of nine children, thank
G-d. I have at times discussed with my wife the possibility of adopting a
child. Every child is a child of G-d, not only our biological children. They
should have a home and we should offer it. But my conversations have never gone
past just that, conversations. I stand in awe of all those who actually do it.
In my religion, Judaism, there is no higher mitzvah, G-dly deed, than raising a
child with no parents as your own. This is G-d’s child and really He should
have made provisions for him. But the Creator chooses, for reasons unknown to
us, to hide behind the veil of nature and it is we humans who must fill in the
seemingly empty spaces. Those who adopt are society’s and religion’s greatest

We all agree that every orphaned child is
of infinite value. Some of us, however, pay mere lip service to the ideal. Others
dress, feed, and hug these children every day of their lives. They wake up in
the middle of the night and nurse crying babies back to sleep. They hug their
troubled teenagers and counsel them through life’s disappointments. They go to
work every day to pay for College and weddings. Gay or straight, they make us
all look small by comparison. And it would seem to me that it takes one heck of
a lot of chutzpa to tell gay men or women not to adopt when we refuse to do so

The same rule would apply to those who
insist on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. No problem, oppose gays in the military. It’s
your right. You believe it compromises military morale and combat readiness. I
get it. But surely you’re going to sign up yourself, right? You’re not just
going to deny a gay man or woman the right to fight terrorists who want to blow
up innocent children and then spend your nights as a couch potato watching
football. Surely you’re not going to prevent gays from protecting democracy and
then run off to Best Buy to find a new 3D HD TV. Someone’s got to
sacrifice for this country. And if you want to prevent them from doing so, you
have to grab a rifle and dodge the bullets yourself.

A few years ago on my radio show I
interviewed two gay men who were in court fighting the government of Florida –
my home state, where gay adoption is prohibited – to adopt a five-year-old
African-American child who was mentally-handicapped. They had been picking the
boy up from an orphanage every Sunday for about a year and now wanted to adopt
him. One of the men said, “Nobody wants him. But we want him.” I choked up. The
show went to dead air. I could not speak or respond. “Nobody wants him. But we
want him.” Here was a child whose skin color for some was all wrong and whose
intelligence did not always match up. But to these two men the boy was perfect.

I believe their love for him was also
perfect and I believe that G-d loves these men for their dedication to this
child, irrespective of how we view the morality of their relationship.

I am an orthodox Jew. Judaism and the
Bible have been the center of my life for all my 44 years. But if religion has
not taught me to respect all men and women who adopt an unloved orphan and be
inspired by their example, then it has failed to bring out my humanity or
change my heart.

That some would prefer that unwanted
children remain in orphanages rather than in warm and welcoming homes is a sad
commentary on the self-appointed morality police of our time.


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is a world-renowned
relationships expert, having authored 24 books on parenting and marriage,
including the critically-acclaimed best-seller ‘Ten Conversations You Need to
Have with Your Children.’ Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.




Comments read comments(20)
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posted November 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

This was a welcomed post… except for two things:
Not all adopted children are Orphans. Most of them have at least one parent who thinks about them/misses them every day.
It’s wrong – wrong headed and wrong heated – to say or imply that children who were surrendered to adoption were/are “unwanted” by their Mothers (or families)… and it damages a child’s self-esteem to hear/read words (from people who really do not know the facts) that they are somehow not good enough.
Please don’t use anything other than terms/language that you wouldn’t mind hearing about yourself or your own children.

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posted November 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

For several years I was a teacher at a school for emotionally disturbed adolescent boys. Most of them lived in group homes and their parents had in some way abandoned them. While certainly some of these boys had genetically based problems, most of them were damaged by the enviornment in which they had spent their early years. One had a father in prison for murder; his mother was a drug dealer. Another was the product of a one-night-stand. His mother gave birth to him and then allowed him to be horribly abused by an older sister and her boyfriend. Both of these boys were very bright and had they been given the opportunity to grow up with any sort of stability they surely would have been valuable members of society. Instead, they were bounced around, grew up without proper care or attachments and one ended up a drug addict, the other in an institution.
Any time a homeless child is offered the chance of love, consistant care, security and an education, he should be allowed to take it. Either one of these boys would have been so much better off with a good, gay parent, rather than lost in our very broken child welfare system. What most people do not understand is that being gay is not a lifestyle, any more than being heterosexual is a lifestyle. I have known many gay people and most are living quite conservative, responsible lifestyles. These men and women would make or are making great parents. This was a great column.

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Phillip Smith

posted November 29, 2010 at 12:22 am

Personally, as a Christian, and as a person, I have no beef at all with gay, lesbian, bissexual, transsexual or transgender people. After all, they are, at the end of the day, people, and loved by God/The Sacred. It’s true that the Bible, especially in one of Paul’s letters(I think it’s in Romans, could be wrong,have to check), and in the Pentateuch/The Torah, that they are not a particular fan of gay relationships, but having said that(and I mean this in a non-judgemental way, as, being a proresssive, I don’t have any more answers than anyone else), and I have enormous respect for the Bible,that one has to be extremely careful how one interprets it, particularly in relation to women, racial groups, and, in this case, the gay community.
I do agree with you, however, that there can be a problem when gays want the same, for want of a better word, perks, as hetrosexual people, and I do agree that is probably preferable for kids to grow up with a hetrosexaul mother and father, so as to teach them ethics etc. I appreciate your opinion, though. God bless.

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posted November 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

Phillip brings up an interesting and important point: “I do agree with you, however, that there can be a problem when gays want the same, for want of a better word, perks, as hetrosexual people, and I do agree that is probably preferable for kids to grow up with a hetrosexaul mother and father, so as to teach them ethics etc.”
Does anyone have statistics on how many in the LGBT community or presently serving time in the prison system were NOT raised by a heterosexual parent or parents?

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posted December 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Gay marriages are unnatural and children should not be raised in a community where a baby can not have been born by nature. When you speak of gay adobption compared to childre staying in orphanages, you are comparing worst with a worse option.If the orphanages are not good enough homes for abandoned children compared to raising a child in gays homes than the best solution would be to make the orphanages better homes. To invest more in orphanages in equipement, staff…education facilities… Off course it is best to have the children adopted by heterosexual couples. And best option ever is to not abandon children in orphanages except when there are no living relatives

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posted December 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm

So gay adoption should not be allowed by law ever. If childen have no voting rights, are under 18, it does not mean that they can be adopted like pets. It is questionable why gay people want to adopt in the first place. Have you considered that maybe they want to be seen as normal couple that now they would even adopt to look like normal couples? Motivation for a good deed is not always honest and good as it seems on the outside.

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posted December 20, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Homosexual behavior is learned early in life through emotional longing, mental habituation and sexual experimentation. Young boys who do not “measure up” to their male peers become enamored, fearful and in awe of male counterparts. The phrase that “what is exotic becomes erotic” is true for the males. These young boys, especially at the puberty phase, become stirred by what they never became themselves: confirmed in their maleness. They are targets for older male homosexuals who introduce them to male porn, early sexual experimentation and masturbation. This behavior becomes addictive and sets up a brain pattern which is difficult to overcome, like alcoholism. When a woman is emotionally dependent because of wounds that she has sustained, she feels as though she literally cannot exist without the object of her dependency, another woman, with whom she finds the part of the female self that she never emotionally grew into. She needs constant reassurance from the other woman, consistent displays of affection, and large quantities of time with her. In short, emotional dependency is a bit like idolatry: another person, in this case a woman, has become a sort of god.
Dependency remains a driving force in the male and female homosexual person’s personality. Why else would those who are same-sex attracted be so unrelenting in their desire to legalize and establish homosexuality in law, religion, and society. Each of the populations is so needy that they cannot love in the giving husband and wife model. They can only take from their own neediness; they seek in their partners that which did not develop in themselves. Are these realities models for parenting? Should they bring children into their disordered lifestyle? The desire for children is not coming from a complementarity of love, but from a neediness that has gone unfulfilled.
Regardless of the gay activism which succeeded in creating support for their agenda throughout America and in fact the secular world, the science and ethics remain constant. There is no gay gene, God tells us that homogenital sex is a moral wrong, and when we sin egregiously it affects the whole person and the world. Because of the increasing acceptance of immorality by adults, our children’s future is assured of more mental physical, emotional and spiritual disease. Are we so jaded that good, solid citizens are willing to stifle their consciences for the popular vote? God has something to say to us. Those who practice and promote homosexual behavior have sustained an iniquity and are no longer capable of discernment. These truths are unpopular because we have lost our religion; but they are the truths.

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Your Name

posted December 31, 2010 at 11:35 am

Comparing God’s gay aand lesbian children to alcoholism and disease betrays your claim to be a follower of God. Plus, neither does it address the topic of adoption by gay people.
Speaking of lacking discernment …

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posted January 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Too many of the above comments are clearly homophobic and exhibit a gross lack of factual knowledge about gays. Many carefully conducted research studies have failed to show that the gay preference is learned for the vast majority of gays. Moral judgments should be based on scientifically established facts, not religious authority or scripture. The research shows no difference in outcome between gay or straight parents. This is also true for single parents. Everything depends on the skills of the caretakers. Science is the best basis for making “moral” decisions, not “authority”.

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posted January 1, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Bravo, Rabbi; well said.

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Liliana Goldberger

posted January 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

Of course it mych better for a child to be adopted by someone. I cannto understand why it is considered alright for children to live with a single parent, of whatever sex and not with a good gay couple of whatever sex.. Even with a gay person single of whatever sex.
I cannot understand either why people do not stop in USA interfering with other people’s lives and allow people to be happy nand centered and generous and give of what they have instead of favoring egotisn and all that illusion of perfect marital life that seems to be stuck to the definition of “amrrieage” between a man an and a woman. Which as I am looking at in USA a re nearly all divorced and leaving their children destitute from one or other parents or living in abusive homes.

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posted January 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I worked many years supporting people with mental disabilities and was often so inspired and humbled by the selfless service others performed for these, the least valued of people.
I knew a lesbian social worker and her partner who took on several children with disabilities. They adopted them officially which meant that they did not get the financial and other benefits that they would have received if they had simply fostered them. These two ladies gave these damaged children a loving permanent home with skillful parents, which they likely would never have had otherwise.
There are no orphanages these days,just a patchy system of foster care, which ranges from excellent to horrible. I know another family in Canada who take in native children with disabilities and raise them to adulthood, just like a natural family. These children are blessed , but there are so many others, and unhappy childhoods so often lead to maladjusted adults who lash out. Who really cares if the people who want to raise children are gay? I don’t think the God who tells us to care for the widows and orphans does.

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Lisa K. Watson-Hill

posted January 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm

As a single straight mom who has adopted, I thank Rabbi for his kind praise, but really don’t quite feel like a hero. ;o) Having had gay friends who have adopted you better believe I wholeheartedly support Rabbi’s stance – every child deserves a home, with a loving family. Every family is unique, and yet all are made healthy if there is love present. I am pretty sure God isn’t asking for a litmus test on what that love looks like …

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Your Name

posted January 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

“Who really cares if the people who want to raise children are gay?”
Self-righteous religionists, that’s who. Thanx 4 askin’.

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Katherin Kovin- Pacino

posted January 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I totally concur with you…as the Exec. Prod. of West Hollywood Intn’l Film Fest last year(it didnt start out that way..I was just the one who was painted into the corner of coming up w/ the money for venue for Annul Victory and hundreds of filmmakers), I became interested in the first place because of Annul Victory re Gay Marriage Act…when you come right down to it, there are many gay parents that know more how to raise a child than a straight parent..and as an adopted child, (though my parents were straight), I am grateful that I just had a home..and love! thank-you!

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how to pick lottery numbers

posted January 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

Deep down inside, we all know what God wants and what is best for us, we must heed this call, even if it makes life difficult in the short term, because it will pay dividends.
We must stop condoning bad conduct. That’s what God wants. That’s what we need to be happy.

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posted January 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I believe that to allow homosexuals to raise children is equal to having a murderer raise children just so they will not be raised without parents. There are many examples of children arising from orphanages to become stellar citizens of our world. I would rather see this where there are strict male influences than to have people who openly oppose Hashem’s laws, and practice an openly defiance of Hashem’s mitzvot. How can we say we are following Hashem’s laws and commandments when we allow those who openly and defiantly oppose Hashem’s laws to take over the raising of our next generation. No, they may not be homosexual, but, they will not condemn the practice as Hashem has condemned the practice to Jews many times in Torah! How can we say that the end justifies the means. G-d forbid this and people were killed who practiced homosexuality. Hashem has not changed the same yesterday today and forever. Baruch Atah Adonai melech haOlam.

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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 3, 2011 at 11:24 am

And equating loving, committed, consenting human relationships to “murder” is WHY your side is NOT believed.
A little discernment (i.e. THINKING) is in order. Not to mention compassion and understanding.
Sorry, but I call hate hate when I see it.

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posted September 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm

This really is Great! Thanks a ton.

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