Gays and lesbians, and I think any prospective adoptive parent, in Australia have reason to celebrate. The first adoption by a gay cou;le A few updates on the adoption front.
As many news outlets reported, The Washington (DC) Blade confirmed
Western Australia’s attorney general welcomed the country’s first adoption by a gay couple last week… Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory are alone among Australia’s eight states and territories in allowing same-sex partnerships the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples. Nationwide, however, individuals — gay or straight — have had the right to adopt children for years. Ghassan Kassisieh, spokesperson for the Sydney-based Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, which is campaigning for equality under adoption laws, welcomed the news, saying it was Australia’s first adoption by a same-sex couple.
Apparently, this was not what some legislators intended. What?
That’s right. Some politicians now claim that when they did not intend for same sex couples to actually adopt when they passed a law 5 years ago that removed sexual preference as a bar to adoption.
Former Labor MPs John Bowler and John D’Orazio claimed yesterday they had been assured the likelihood of gay male couples being able to adopt a stranger’s child under changes to WA’s adoption laws was negligible when legislation was introduced five years ago…..
But the two Independent MPs said they recalled worried MPs being assured that gay adoptions would never happen.
“There was unanimous support for the thrust of the legislation to remove prejudice but there was concern that there are still those in society who are prejudiced, and if a child was adopted to a gay couple those prejudices might see that child become the victim of playground activity,“ Mr Bowler said.
“We were told not to worry because there were hundreds or thousands seeking adoption and that would be a consideration and therefore it would never happen.“
So, they voted for the law because they thought the people it helped would never take advantage of it? A Labor MP is a bit more clear about the (obvious) consequence of the law:
But another Labor MP said no one was in any doubt that a gay adoption could occur under the changes.
“I think it was clear during the adoption legislation that there was the possibility of gay people adopting but the key thing as to whether that would happen or not was the birth mother and her veto over any couple she did not want,“ she said.
In the meantime, the birth grandmother of the child who was adopted by the two men in Western Australia has come out full throttle in favor of the adoptive parents. The new dads apparently were the best parents for this child.:
The birth grandmother of a child who has been adopted by a homosexual couple in Western Australia says the family has no regrets about its decision….
The child’s birth grandmother, who cannot be named, rang the ABC in Perth to say people should be open-minded about gay people adopting children.
“We just made the choice and I’m glad we made that choice and I don’t care what anyone out there says. You know, it’s not a matter of being gay or not. It’s a matter of being in the best place and the best parents. And that’s what these guys are,” she said.
Nauturally, ther anti-gay adoption politicians and Christian lobby groups disagree. Not only should gays and lesbians not adopt, allow them to do so violates the child’s rights. That is, gays and lesbians adopting children deprive those children of their right to a “natural family” and parents of both genders. This tactic, which is also used in the US , deliberately twists the meaning and logic of children’s rights and welfare to meet the needs of their anti-gay agenda:
But WA Liberal MP Matt Birney said the government was pandering to minority groups.
“This shouldn’t have been about the rights of gay couples, it should be about the rights of a child to have the influence of a mother and father,” Mr Birney said.
“This is a state-sponsored choice that has denied that child the right to one of the most fundamental rights – a mother.”
Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace echoed Mr Birney’s sentiments, saying WA’s adoption laws, and similar legislation in the ACT, made children commodities.
“We think the WA and ACT laws that allow gay adoption are dismissive of the children’s rights,” Mr Wallace said.
“They are competing against thousands of people to adopt and it is making children commodities.
“From a Christian point of view the child is better off with a family, and a family is natural with a mother and a father.”
While the politicians argue whether or not they knew gays would want to adopt, the evidence in Australia (confirming what researchers are finding in the US and other countries): sexual preferences of parents just don’t impact children who join their families through adoption.
Adoption Research and Counselling Service manager Jennifer Newbould said she had researched the impact on children of adoption by same-sex couples overseas.
“There was no research that showed children were detrimentally affected,“ she said. “What I am in favour of is the best interests of the child and I do not think gender or sexuality are issues in that decision.“
But, like other Australians, Australian gays and lesbians won’t find adoption as a quick route to parenthood. Adoption in Australia takes a long time. According to adoption professionals, the wait for prospective parents is 5 years, and could be as long as 10. In the last year in Western Australia, just 36 children were adopted from other countries and just 9 children through domestic adoption. Now that the adoption legislation has dealt with prejudices for adoptive parents, maybe adoption professionals can deal with the rules that make adoption such an long procress.