Sunday, July 02, 2006

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?

8 comments:

Idiot/Savant said...

We'd need a Marriage Act (or some similar legislation) for the same reason we have always had one: to "avoid the perils of clandestinity". Or, in English, to allow people to register their relationships to avoid confusion.

As for a same-sex marriage bill, I'd very much like to see one. But simply as a matter of tactics, it might be better to allow a little time for civil unions to sink in and become normal (and for people to see that no, the world hasn't ended) before pushing for it.

Dave said...

Yes, I must have been editing the post when you wrote the comment - we`d need a Marriage Act, but why would we need to restrict it to heterosexual couples who want to register their relatinship.

In fact, if all relationships were to be registered through the Marriage Act, which is what you prefer, we wouldn't need a civil union Act, would we?

So you must see the Civil Union Act as a temporary Act that is meant to last for a shorter time than say, the Marriage or Adoption Acts of 1955.

Anonymous said...

Other than that, there is no reason to exclude prospective same-sex parents who pass vetting tests from adoptive parenthood, though. Guardianship, reproductive technology access and fostering are already open, and the research is affirmative, so why not?

Craig Y.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, LGBT New Zealanders do have other priorites than desegregating discriminatory marriage laws, especially given that civil unions are there as parallel legislation, too.

Adoption law reform and transgender anti-discrimination laws come first, along with better protease inhibitor access for PLWAs, and examining medicinal cannabis derivatives as another palliative care option in that context.

Craig Y.

Dave said...

Why would transgender laws be a priority craig? Its only people such as Claudia who would see this as a priority, not the LBGT community as a whole, surely?

Idiot/Savant said...

Dave: now its here, we can hardly unhitch people. Instead I'd favour gender-blinding the marriage Act, allowing transfers either way, and letting people decide for themselves what they want to call things.

Dave said...

what is the point of having a gender neutral marriage act and a civil union act - the whole point of having a civil union act was because the Government wanted a way for gay couples to recognise their relatinship - and include straight couples so as not to breach the BOR and the HRA. It did not want to keep the status quo nor did they want a gender neutral marriage act.
If the Marriage Act was gender neutral, It would be better to scrap future civil unions, given that the gay community sees the civil union bill as a step towards marriage - and if the government wanted a gender neutral marriage act there would never have been a civil union bill.

Anonymous said...

To be frank, I think the trans community should come first. It's been waiting over thirteen years to be covered by antidiscrimination laws. As someone who opposed prostitution law reform, wouldn't you sleep better knowing that many prospective trans sex workers might have other career options than street soliciting, Dave?

Craig Y.