Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (5):969-982 (2013)

Scholars have extensively debated the family’s place within liberalism, generally, and specific attention and critique has been given to the family in Rawls’ work. What has received less focus are the requirements of parents in a Rawlsian polity and, further, what those requirements might imply for the one case where states explicitly regulate the process of becoming parents: adoption. This paper seeks to discover what might be required of parents, adoptive or otherwise, in a Rawlsian social contract state. Second, it considers adoptive parent selection in light of these requirements as well as Rawls’ arguments regarding merit and fair equality of opportunity. Finally, it considers what such a merit-based selection of adoptive parents implies for the disputed rights of same-sex couples to adopt children. Further, because the question of merit in this case will hinge upon what it means to be a “fit parent,” it also draws upon relevant empirical social science studies regarding gay and lesbian parents. The paper, then, evaluates both the theoretical and empirical validity of generalized claims that same-sex couples are less fit to be parents than are heterosexual couples
Keywords Rawls  Adoption  Gay  Lesbian  Family
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-012-9398-8
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References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Just Health Care.Norman Daniels - 1985 - Cambridge University Press.
Collected Papers.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Justice, Gender, and the Family.Martha L. Fineman - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (1):77-97.

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