unmarried couples adopting
On Thursday, Green MP Metiria Turei's Adoption (Equity) Amendment bill landed in the ballot. It has now landed in my in-box. The bill aims to change the Adoption Act and treat all unmarried couples - especially those in civil unions - the same as married couples in terms of adopting children. Given the passage of the Civil Union Act, it makes legal sense to include civil union couples in an adoption bill.Just 300 children are adopted each year.
Yet it may create difficulties purely because unmarried couples are not treated the same as married couples in law. For example, unemployed gay couples are treated as individuals for benefit purposes if they are not in a civil union, and so if they jointly adopted a child, whose benefit would the child be under? Who will collect the family support? Why should such couples be treated as individuals and get a higher benefit? Heterosexual, married and Civil Union couples are treated the same in law in most cases. But not for adoption. Other couples are sometimes treated differently.
This bill is not about whether unmarried or gay couples make better parents than heterosexual married couples, any more than whether Maori make better parents than Non-Maori. It is about whether they are "fit and proper persons" to be able to adopt, provided the mother approves.
But if all couples can adopt, why on earth would we need to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples? If this bill is pulled from the ballot and passes, what would stop a same sex marriage bill from being drafted and passed, all because about 10 gay couples adopt a child each year?