Gay Adoption

The Herald reports:

The acting head judge of the Family Court has called for gay and lesbian couples to be given rights to adopt children, just as a private member’s bill on the issue goes into the ballot for Parliament’s order paper today. …

He said the Adoption Act, which has not been fully reviewed since 1955, was outdated and unjustly discriminatory, breaching the Bill of Rights Act, the Human Rights Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Only married couples and individuals can adopt children under the act. …

It is interesting that an individual can adopt, but not a de facto couple.

My position on the issue of , is that there should not be a prohibition on it, but that whether or not the prospective parents are of the same or different genders should be a factor in deciding on individual cases.

I do believe that it is important for a child to have both a male and female adult in their lives, and the ideal circumstance is that the prospective parents are a male and female married (or civilly united) to each other.

But that is only one of many factors that should be taken into account when deciding adoptions. Some of the others are length of relationship, job stability, income, criminal record, health, age etc etc.

I’m not sure how adoptions are currently decided but I do know there are many more people wanting to adopt, than there are babies made available for adoption. Hence I assume there is some sort of scoring criteria used to decide who gets priority – perhaps similar to the criteria used to determine eligibility to qualify to immigrate here.

So again I would not have a prohibition, but if two couples were equally “qualified” to adopt a child, I believe the best interests of the child are to grow up with both a father and a mother. Hence I also support a married couple having priority over an individual (note again individuals are not banned).

But there would be situations where a gay couple could well score “higher” on the scale of best able to provide a family to an unwanted child (and many gay couples already are parents). For example a gay couple who have been together for 15 years, are in excellent health, and earning high incomes would be better than a married couple who have been together only 18 months, with one parent not working due to illness and the other earning just $30,000 a year.

Really what it comes down to is treating each applicant for adoption on its merits, and making decisions purely on what is the best interests of the child. A prohibition on sexual orientation actually acts against being able to make a decision based on individual circumstances.

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