Sunday, May 21, 2006

Same-sex adoption on the agenda?

The Greens' Metiria Turei is calling for the Adoption Act to be changed to allow adoption by same-sex couples.

So bring a Member's Bill on the subject already. The Greens are already running out of bills to put in the ballot (the Green ballot mojo has its disadvantages sometimes), and this would give them another issue to campaign on. In addition, it has a high likelihood of passing. As I pointed out last year, same-sex adoption is the progressive issue with the best chance of passing this term. As a basic issue of equality, only the most retrograde of Labour MPs would oppose it, and it would have universal support from the Greens. According to the profiles at NZVotes, two National MPs (including John Key) were willing to publicly back such a bill - and this did not include answers from National's traditional liberals such as Pansy Wong, Clem Simich, and Katherine Rich. Add in Brian Donnelly (who really seems out of place among the dinosaurs of the NZ First caucus), and it sems there would be a majority there, without having to consider the unreliable ACT vote, or the position of National's new (and therefore unknown) MPs.

The only worry is that United Future would threaten to bring down the government if they backed such a bill - but I don't think that forcing them to make such a statement publicly would hurt in the slightest. They'd immediately be tarred as a party of fundamentalist bigots intent on imposing (their peculiar version of) "God's Law" on the rest of us - and such parties have never really done well electorally in New Zealand.

The current situation is blatantly discriminatory, and for no good reason. Gays make as good parents as straights, and that should be the only question in adoption decisions. The sooner the Adoption Act is amended, the better.


I couldn't agree more. Actually, it's more likely to be lesbians who parent than gay man. However, I'd personally prefer it if gender identity discrimination was outlawed first, given that the trans communities have been waiting for the last thirteen years for inclusive anti-discrimination laws.

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/21/2006 02:50:00 PM

I agree since standards should be enforceable without considering gender etc.

But I do think gay men are probably - on average - a little less likely to provide stable homes. I dont know many lesbians so I'm not sure about that.

Posted by Genius : 5/21/2006 03:04:00 PM

"But I do think gay men are probably - on average - a little less likely to provide stable homes"

Excuse me? What's that supposed to mean? I'd bet, on average, more straight people divorce and leave their children emotionally scarred than gay people.

Regardless - people who are adopting are (and should be) subject to screening based on the environment given to the child, so any argument on the serial-monogamy statistics is irrelevant

Posted by James : 5/21/2006 04:03:00 PM

Hopefully, this reference might clarify matters:

Judith Stacey and Tim Biblarz "How Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?" American Sociological Review (April 2001):

From memory, it's around somewhere on the web.

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 01:10:00 PM

Actually, before we start passing legislation extending the right of adoption, why don't we asking the hard question: is adoption actually the best thing for the child and the birth parents? It's almost as if all the anguish of the lost generations of children adopted out, and the birth mothers who were forced to give them up doesn't mean anything, hasn't made any impact. A cute little baby, available on demand to "nice" would-be parents has somehow become a human right that should be extended to all those who want it.
I have no problems with legislating to protect and extend the rights of the gay community - I just don't think that adoption is actually a right. I made submissions the last time the issue was canvassed opposing adoption - I believe that children's identity and blood lines should be kept paramount, and that if there are safety issues, then a stronger form of guardianship is what is required. Adoption is a legally sanctioned lie, in which the child loses their identity and the parents lose their child - and are told "it's best". The emotional suffering for many adopted people is intense - and no-one who has supported a person through that can honestly believe it's OK.

Anyone thinking of supporting this change should read Nancy Verrier's "Primal Wound" - and consider that they might be creating a whole new generation of unacknowledged victims. It's not about what kind of a parent you would make, it's about how adoption damages the child.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/22/2006 06:43:00 PM

Sure, and I have dear friends who call themselves 'adoption survivors' who report much the same trauma after being forced to adopt their children out.

However, what about coparent adoption, in which case it would be the child's other mum or dad who adopts their (biological) partners child, thus insuring continuity of care? Or whangai adoption?

I don't blame you for questioning adoption as an institution, and I suspect that there will be lesbian relinquishing birthmothers around who'll speak up during the process of LGBT community debate over the issue.

However, I think there is a strong case for equality when it comes to the specific cases noted above.

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/23/2006 12:58:00 PM

Your parents are the people who raise you. The genetic component of you has *no more* (in fact much less) to do with your biological parents than with the whole tree of biological life at whose far sapling tips we all stand. Learn some biology: most of our genetic material was manufactured millions of years ago - e.g., we're 95% at least identical to chimps and possibly as high as 99.5% in the streches of the genomes that are actually functional. The variation that is attributable to your particular biological parents on any level is absolutely insignificant biologically and it's got *nothing to do with them* at any personal/conscious level any more than the person who delivers your newspaper (even if they initial thhe top of the page!) has much to do with what the paper contains for good or for ill. To repeat: insofar as your identity is a matter of genes and "blood" it's got almost *nothing* to do with your biological parents. You wouldn't be here if not for them just as the Times doesn't end up on your doorstep without your paper-gal.

Raising someone well is a personal/conscious achievement, but the mere transmission of scrambled genes is not. Sorry. If the people who raise you don't do a good job then you have cause for complaint, and if they don't then you do. But the latter happens with biological parents too (resentful or otherwise lousy parents are sadly everywhere), and you just have to get over it in any case. Being adopted does not itself damage anyone - life in general, however, can of course be very traumatic.

And on the mom side: it's a very honorable thing to have adopted out a child rather than kill it while fetal or (selfishly? riskily?) choosing to raise it yourself when you *knew* - you bloody knew! - you didn't want it or weren't up to the task and would have almost certainly made a completge hash of it.

All decisions in that situation are hard - lots of people are freaked out by the abortions they've had, others are freaked out by the crappy job they did raising a kid they never should have kept, and others are bummed that they gave up their child for adoption. *Life's* a friggin' "primal wound" and people love to whine about it.

Couples who adopt have to meet all sorts of criteria for stability etc.. Same sex couples who meet those criteria should be congratulated for doing so and allowed to proceed.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/24/2006 09:34:00 PM

my gay associates have orders of magnitude more partners (no seriously) than the straight ones. of course, the straight people I know are quite conservative.

"I'd bet, on average, more straight people divorce and leave their children emotionally scarred than gay people."

Im not sure if that is relevant but I do know a couple of gay guys who have broken up with their girlfriends and left children behind. Stopping gay marriage wouldn't effect that though.
they dont usually leave kids behind in their gay partnerships because most guys dont have ovaries.

Posted by Genius : 5/25/2006 12:28:00 AM