John Roughan writes about same-sex couple adopting, and mises the point completely:
Gay adoption has always seemed to me to be a step too far.
Marriage, sure. A couple’s genuine commitment is worthy of legal recognition. But adoption puts a child in the front line of a social challenge. I’m not sure that is fair.
It is not clear what sort of parentage was envisaged when the National Party’s northern conference voted last weekend for gay couples in a civil union to be legally entitled to adopt, or precisely what is in a bill that Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye says she has been working on with the Greens’ Kevin Hague.
It might go no further than to let a woman be a legal parent of a child born to her partner, which would be a fine thing to do. But in the name of gender equality it probably would allow a male couple to be legal parents too.
The Prime Minister was enthused by the conference vote. He said it showed the party was modern. His Government might even sponsor the bill, ensuring it gets on Parliament’s agenda, though MPs would have an independent “conscience” vote on any application to same sex couples.
The Prime Minister has every right to be enthused that the Young Nats are showing some initiative. But it is the next part of Roughan’s article that shows his grasp on the¬†intricacies¬†of the topic is tenuous.
Key must be encouraged by the public response so far. In the little discussion I’ve heard a consensus seems to agree with Kaye that the suitability of adoptive parents has nothing to do with their sexuality. As long as a child has a safe and loving home, nothing else matters.
But I can’t help wondering what happens when the child goes to school. Other children might not be as modern as the northern region of the National Party.
When the child goes to school I dare say a new entrants’ teacher will get the class seated on the mat and talk to them happily about all the different kinds of parents people can have, and mention, by the way, that Billy has two fathers.
I don’t think this would help Billy one bit, especially when the kids later innocently ask him whether he has two mothers too, or just one mother, or what? And things will only get harder when the class enters puberty and the kids are becoming much more intrigued by Billy’s household than they used to be.
This is specious argument. If the best argument he can come up with against same-sex couples being able to adopt is that the kids might get teased then the argument is over and he lost. The same reasoning could be used to set up a Commission of names to approve children’s names, given some of the sillynames out there this could have some merit.
And then John Roughan misses the point completely.
Adoption generally has become rare since the advent of the pill, easy abortion and benefits for sole parents. Gays applying to adoption agencies these days would join a sad waiting room of young heterosexual couples who have also been penalised by nature.
If the Kaye-Hague bill is going to ask agencies to disregard the sexual orientation of applicants when they assess their suitability, I think it would be asking too much. Since it mainly aims to update the law on surrogacy and other reproductive variants it might concentrate on adoptions that same-sex couples arrange for themselves.
The proposed bill and the remit of the Young Nats is not about Closed Adoptions, of which there are precious few, it is about open adoption, and about legacy. Basically the little known fact of civil unions is that the people in civil unions do not enjoy the same rights as married people whether or not they are heteroe-sexual couples of same-sex couples….adoption is just on area of this that needs addressing.