Sample argumentative essay
Every Child Deserves a Family
As we enter the holiday season, take a moment and reflect on what it is you remember most about seasons past—the memories made, the moments shared. For many of us what makes the holidays so sentimental and so memorable is the time spent with family, celebrating, reminiscing, and creating new memories. These special moments are not afforded to all though—many children living in the foster care system would like nothing more than to be placed with a family of their own and have the opportunity to begin building some of these memories for themselves. To this end, it is imperative that every loving family that is willing and able to adopt and foster children is permitted to, without regard to whether that family happens to be constituted of a same-sex couple. Passage of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA) seeks to ensure that same-sex couples have uniform and equal access to the adoption and foster care system, replacing the existing state-by-state patchwork of laws that at times discriminate against these couples and deny them the opportunity to create families and provide those children waiting for a loving home with one and the lasting memories that come along with having a family to call their own.
In 2015 the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, acknowledging that same-sex couples should be afforded the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. Much of the reasoning in the decision focused on the importance of marriage as the foundation for family creation, as Justice Kennedy stated in the
ruling “Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser” (Khimm). While the rights of same-sex couples to marry were affirmed under the decision, and their equal footing was acknowledged, there was left unanswered several questions regarding the rights of these couples to creating families—specifically through surrogates and adoption. In the absence of explicit guidance from the Supreme Court states and localities took varying tracks on the matter.
Between 2011 and 2013, bills were passed in Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, and Virginia that included specific language that allowed faith-based adoption agencies the right to refuse service to same-gender couples or to give preference to heterosexual couples (Montero). As recently as February 12, 2014, Kansas House Bill 2453 was passed prohibiting sanctions on religious groups that refused services to gays and lesbians (Montero). The bill would allow religiously affiliated adoption agencies the right not to place children with same- gender couples. Texas House Bill 3959 was passed in 2017 and signed into law, permits this type of discrimination not only against same-sex couples, but also those of other faiths and single-parents—using the pretext of religious freedom (Reynolds). Same-sex adoption is currently legal in all 50 states as of 2016, when Mississippi’s ban was struck down. However, there exists no federal legislation mandating that foster-care and adoption agencies receiving federal funding extend their services to same-sex couples. This state-by-state uncertainty is the most urgent reason that federal legislation should be passed to ensure that all citizens are treated equally in the eyes of the law. Opponents of same-sex adoption have seized on this gap to attempt to pass several pieces of discriminatory legislation that would allow foster-care and adoption agencies that are faith-based to deny their services to same-sex couples—as well as
single parents and those of other faiths. In order to ensure that the number of children waiting for families are placed is maximized, and to ensure that the spirit of Obergefell is fully realized passage of the ECDFA is imperative.
Imagine that you just celebrated your first wedding anniversary and you find out the same day that your spouse received the promotion they’d been waiting for at work. Along with this you’d both discussed starting a family and decided that as adopted children yourself, you wanted to adopt to build your family and pay all of the love and kindness you received forward. With your partner’s new job, you will finally be able to afford a bigger home and the hefty costs associated with the adoption process. Your spouse’s promotion is moving you all from California to the company headquarters in St Louis—you make the move and begin the adoption process, only to find that all of the local adoption agencies refuse to work with you because you are a same-sex couple. You consult your attorney friend only to have him tell you that, under Missouri law and recently passed legislation, faith-based adoption agencies have the right to deny service to you based solely on your sexual orientation. Living in a conservative state and with the near monopoly that Catholic-affiliated agencies have in your area you are little with no recourse. This is the potential reality for many same-sex couples seeking to access adoption services in conservative states that have passed so-called religious liberty laws.
In considering how impactful having a family is for the well-being of children it is important to remember that numerous studies have found that there is no significant difference in life outcomes between children that are raised by same-sex couples compared to those raised by heterosexual ones. In his New York Times article Daniel Victor cites research from Columbia University showing that “75 of 79 scholarly studies that met their criteria
concluded that the children faced no disadvantages” (Victor). Children are inarguably better off when they are placed in a loving family—regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents. Public sentiment would seem to echo academic research, as more and more of the population believes that same-sex individuals and couples deserve equal treatment under the law. Darrel Montero’s “America’s Progress in Achieving the Legalization of Same-Gender Adoption: Analysis of Public Opinion, 1994 to 2012” illustrates how public sentiment has changed, with only 28% of respondents in 1994 supporting same-sex adoption, to 61% of respondents expressing approval in 2012. This growing public support for extending equal treatment to LGBT citizens in the adoption and foster care system does not always seem to be mirrored at the state legislative level. Americans understand inherently what some of their elected representatives do not—that a family that is willing and able to shelter and provide for children in a loving environment should have the opportunity to do so, without regard to sexual orientation. Without evidence that children are harmed by allowing equal access to LGBT couples to the adoption process, there is no reason for state legislative officials to try and create a system that is biased and exclusionary and there does exist a moral and ethical imperative to extend equal treatment to all citizens by taxpayer-funded government entities.
There are those whose will contend that compelling adoption and foster-care agencies receiving government funding to extend their services with no regard to sexual orientation, causes a dilemma for those groups with an expressly religious founding or charter. Namely, some will say that by doing so and granting equal rights to the LGBT community that we trample the religious rights of these faith-based groups by compelling them to make decisions contrary to their beliefs or risk losing government funding. The title of Jamie Dean’s article in
The World says it all: “Adoption Defense: A Wave of New Laws Provides Vital Protection for Faith-based Adoption Agencies—but LGBT Advocates are Putting Up a Fight.” In her view, if faith-based agencies are compelled to extend their services to LGBT couples many will instead choose to withdraw from the system completely, resulting in fewer placements. Dean envisions individuals making choices based on their Christian faith and seeking out agencies that are able to place their children in Christian homes and being unable to find such entities as equal treatment legislation is passed and enforced. Even though civil rights groups who have brought forward litigation to challenge discriminatory practices have explicitly said they are only targeting those groups receiving public funding and not private agencies, Dean and those who feel as she does think that there is something far more nefarious at work and see their religious convictions as being assailed. In response, faith-based groups have advocated federal legislation of their own in the form of the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act that would ensure that faith-based agencies could discriminate against any group they choose, based solely on their religious convictions.
What those on the other side of the argument fail to realize is that federal funding has always come with strings attached—and there is no one compelling them to accept funding— but if they choose to, they must accept the restrictions placed on them. The government has an imperative to treat all of its citizens equally under the law, and in the history of our country, extending rights and freedoms to previously discriminated classes of people has never led to negative outcomes. These agencies are free to practice their faith and make choices in keeping with said faith; I would contend that this does not preclude them from being able to extend their services without regard whether those seeking their services share their convictions. The
diversity of America is reflected in its religious communities as well, and whether they are aware of it or not it is almost certain that these agencies have worked with individuals whose beliefs have not aligned with their own. In order to do the most good, by way of having the most number of children possible placed in loving homes, I think it is possible for faith-based groups to extend their services to those of a different mindset, belief system or sexual orientation without explicitly endorsing those contrarian beliefs.
Throughout the course of American history there have been times when our collective moral consciousness has compelled us to realize when the time has come to extend freedoms that were once restricted to disenfranchised classes of citizens. Civil rights issues of the 20th century including women’s suffrage, segregation, and same-sex marriage have all called upon us at various points to acknowledge when we as a people have been wrong and wake up to the new reality present to us. That time has come for the same-sex adoption movement. When there is so much at stake that is so impactful and emotionally compelling with an issue like creating families, I think it is paramount for us to acknowledge the occasion and rise to it by swiftly passing the ECDFA.
Beitsch, Rebecca. “Despite Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, Gay Adoption Rights Uncertain in Some States.” Stateline.Org, 19 Aug. 2015, Newspaper Source Plus, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 31 Oct. 2018.
Dean, Jamie. “Adoption Defense: A Wave of New Laws Provides Vital Protection for Faith-Based Adoption and Foster Agencies–but LGBT Advocates Are Putting up a Fight.” World Magazine, June 2018, pp. 40–43. Academic Search Complet, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 29 Oct. 2018.
Khimm, Suzy. “The New Nuclear Family.” New Republic, Fall 2015, p. 8. MasterFILE Complete, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 4 Nov. 2018.
Montero, Darrel M. “America’s Progress in Achieving the Legalization of Same-Gender Adoption: Analysis of Public Opinion, 1994 to 2012.” Social Work, vol. 59, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 321–328. Social Sciences Full Text, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 2 Nov. 2018.
Reynolds, Daniel. “Are LGBT’s Under Attack in Texas?: The State Guts Rights and Endangers Kids under the Guise of Religious Freedom.” Advocate, Aug. 2017, p. 10. MasterFILE Complete, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018.
Victor, Daniel. “Kentucky Judge, Citing Conscience, Declines to Hear Same-Sex Adoption Cases.” The New York Times, 1 May 2017, Newspaper Source Plus, www.ebscohost.com. Accessed 5 Nov. 2018
For this assignment, you will be assessing the effectiveness of the presentation of an argument by examining specific writing elements of a sample argumentative essay.
1. Select two of the following elements to comment on in your post:
– Thesis statement
– Topic sentences
– Supporting Claims/Evidence
– Clarity of ideas
In your post, reflect on the effectiveness of the elements you have selected, examining the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of these within the essay. Be specific.
2. Select a third element from the list above and pose a question about it for discussion with your peers.
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