10 FEBRUARY 2007, Page 16

It's about the child

From John Parfitt Sir: Matthew Parris should do better than his elegant nonsense about so-called gay adoption (Another voice, 3 February). Until the inclusiveness lobby turned the word 'discriminating' into a boo-word, it was a compliment, meaning the ability to know the difference between good and bad, deserving and undeserving; to prefer Beethoven to Big Brother. We all discriminate every day, and why not? We favour the things we like. Likewise, if my Catholic friends wish to run an adoption service for married couples, why not, especially when others are catered for elsewhere? Or will the government now insist that the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society make grants to pranged motorists and that the British Legion welcome conscientious objectors?

John Parfitt Painswick, Gloucestershire From Robert Triggs Sir: Although one would find it hard to believe from Matthew Parris's article — with its focus on gays, lesbians, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and the Catholic Church, Tony Blair, Ruth Kelly et al. — the most important person in any discussion of any adoption is the child. The adoptive child has been let down, for whatever reasons, at the beginning of his/her life, and that child's interests must now be paramount.

The researches of child psychiatrists reveal overwhelmingly that a child brought up by a mother and a father — with two distinctive role-models to emulate — has an infinitely better chance of facing the challenges of life as a mature and balanced individual than one brought up by singlesex 'parents'. Gays and lesbians are becoming increasingly vociferous in demanding their rights — to marry, to bring up children and to enjoy equality of status with heterosexual couples. Maybe they also have an obligation to listen — in this case to the still, small voice of the child.

Robert Triggs Oxford