Discrimination against same-sex parents; lack of justice, lack of love.

Discrimination surrounding people within the LGBTQ community is an ongoing issue in today’s society. Heterosexism, the idea that heterosexuality is the only acceptable form of romantic relationship, is still a view that many people have engrained in their mind. This heterosexist attitude causes many problems for people who have a sexual orientation that varies from the norm.

The topic I have chosen to focus on is the article that discusses a doctor’s refusal of treatment for a baby born to same-sex parents. The parents of the child are a lesbian couple, who sought out to find an accepting doctor who would be able to provide quality care for their baby. The couple thought they had found exactly the doctor who they were looking for, and were told to book an appointment when the baby was born. After their beautiful baby girl was born, the couple went in to see their doctor as they were instructed. Instead of seeing the familiar face they had trusted to provide the necessary care for their new baby, they were greeted with unsettling news. The doctor had decided she could no longer be able to care for a baby that was born to a homosexual couple.

The decision to refuse treatment is said to have come from a place of religious values, although this cannot be concluded for this, or any case of homophobia. Homophobia is fear or hatred of people who stray from societal norms in regards to sexual orientation, and it often leads to discrimination, such as what is seen in the article. Religion seems to play a leading role when it comes to what people see as acceptable, and this can cause many cases of sexual discrimination.

While watching the video embedded in the article, it is evident that the doctor and the couple are of different race. The intersectionality of race and gender is well known to cause discrimination, but is it possible that an intersection of race and sexual orientation can also lead to similar problems? Or even gender and sexual orientation? It is clear that in North America (where the couple in the article is from), the ‘standard’ story is that which involves a white man and a white woman together, reproducing and creating white male and white female babies, who will grow up and continue the cycle. Although it seems unlikely that racial differences played a large part in the situation discussed in the article, it would be interesting to see what would have happened if roles had been reversed. If the doctor was white, and the same sex couple was of a different racial background, could race have had a significant influence alongside sexual orientation? What if they had been from the same racial and religious background? Would the doctor be willing to refuse treatment of a child who comes from the same background as she did?

It would also be interesting to see what may have happened if, for example, the couple was a same-sex male couple, and the doctor was a female, because gender is another significant factor in regards to how people are treated within their society. Men are often more valued or seen as superior to women, so I wonder if the situation may have played out differently if the couple had both been male rather than female.

Power structures also seem to have somewhat of an influence the extent of discrimination. A doctor clearly has more power over a same sex couple in a society where there are not many laws in place to protect people of the LGBTQ community. Despite the article referencing that there is a law stating a doctor cannot refuse treatment based on sexual orientation, there are loopholes to this since doctors are allowed to refuse treatment if it goes against religious views. Therefore, if a doctor has a problem with the sexual orientation of a prospective patient, no one can stop them from refusing to treat them if they just say there is a religious aspect involved in the conflict. Since doctors have more power than their patients, there is not much that can be done when something like what happened to the couple in the article takes place.

Discrimination against anyone, no matter what their gender, race, or sexual orientation may be, is detrimental not only to the victims, but also to society as a whole. When an act of discrimination takes place, its effects can be harmful to people associated to the victims. Just like in the article, an individual may discriminate against someone, but the harm caused by this could more greatly affect someone else. The baby in the article was not the individual who the doctor was discriminating against, she was just an innocent baby who was thrown in the middle of the issue that the doctor had with her parents’ sexual orientation. Everyone deserves the chance to live freely and be happy, but in order for this to happen, discrimination in any form needs to be eradicated. Justice is said to be a public form of love; if this is true, it is time for justice to be presented for victims of discrimination so that everyone knows they are loved.


Reference: MyFOXDetroit.com Staff. “Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” – Fox 2 News Headlines. My Fox Detroit, 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby&gt;.


4 thoughts on “Discrimination against same-sex parents; lack of justice, lack of love.

  1. You raised some really good points about the larger systematic issues at play in this situation, particularly regarding the intersection between discrimination and free will and how that is impacted by power structures.
    It’s interesting that there are laws in place to protect a doctor’s religious views, but at what point do we as a society say “Your right to this freedom trumps my right to not be discriminated against?” And when you refer to the baby as “innocent” I think that is an incredibly important point to highlight because the patient is being discriminated against on the basis of her parent’s sexual orientation, not even her own.


  2. The way you’ve compared how this story unfolded to the potential effects and affects if the power dynamics were slightly different really emphasizes the degree to which societal norms like heteronormativity, racism, and gender are an underlying current though all social interactions – even in something that is meant to be unbiased, professional, and care for everyone like the health care system.
    I think it’s interesting how in this case, and in many others, homophobia is negated and discrimination is transformed to be supported in more covert ways by religious beliefs. Especially since both sexual orientation and religious denominations and beliefs have such a diverse range of identities throughout the world and even within Canada and the United States, and religious groups have also faced discrimination on various occasions. Instead of embodying the message that Cornell West puts forth – that justice is what love looks like in public – discrimination is perpetuated.


  3. Similar to the issues raised in the Laverne Cox’s story, it is really unjust that LGBTQ families are not fairly represented by the justice system. Even in medical situations like this one where one’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with caring for a baby. For me this seems like it is another greater issue in the US, especially in certain states, where peoples moral beliefs take to much precedent over what should be basic human rights.


  4. In your post you brought up how the doctor under scrutiny technically cannot refuse treatment because of sexual orientation but can if it interferes with religious beliefs. This led me to thinking about the current lgbtq laws and policies in place in Canada. I looked at this article which is essentially a time line of the LGBTQ movement in Canada http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-rights-in-canada/.
    After reading through this article the dates of different laws are brought to the forefront. Gay marriage was only legalized 10 years ago, and it was only 20 years ago that same-sex couples were granted the ability to adopt.
    While it may seem that the law is using religion as a screen for deeper discrimination problems I think we also have to take into account how recent some of these legal actions are and thus how it may take time before there are laws that have the ability to protect LGBTQ couples from this type of discrimination


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