The Vatican’s recent reiteration of its position against Catholic organizations facilitating gay adoptions has raised more debate on the issue in the United States. But many observers say this debate will prove much less divisive than gay marriage, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

Recently, the bishops in Massachusetts announced that Catholic Charities of Boston would stop placing children with same-sex couples. Catholic Charities in San Francisco is currently under similar pressure.

Timothy Muldoon, director of the nonpartisan ‘Church in the 21st Century Center’ at Boston College, explained the Vatican position. He told The Christian Science Monitor that the bishops and the Vatican "are concerned with human rights, but they're also fundamentally concerned with particularly creating a culture that supports the family.”

Currently, Florida, Mississippi, and Utah have laws that ban gay adoption. Nebraska, Arkansas, and Missouri have de facto policies or laws restricting gays from adopting or becoming foster parents. Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee, among others, have indicated a willingness to introduce constitutional amendments. And Arizona is considering a bill that would force the state to give priority to married couples, reported the Christian Science Monitor.

Child-welfare advocates, however, say these laws keep children desperately in need of stability from getting any family at all.

"While it's still a divisive issue, it's not nearly as inflammatory as gay marriage," Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, told the Christian Science Monitor.

"With gay marriage there's the whole question of what marriage represents, in what's a religious ceremony for many people,” he was quoted as saying. “With adoption we have the issue of children who are uncared for being taken care of. There are all kinds of crosscurrents that will be there that aren't there for gay marriage."

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is expected to release its research on gay adoptive parents this month. Previous research demonstrates there are no substantive reasons not to place children with same-sex couples, the organization says.