Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Government may adopt gay adoption bill

This morning's Herald reports that the government is giving "serious consideration" to introducing legislation on gay adoptions - or adopting Meyt's Adoption (Equity) Amendment Bill. According to Chris Carter, Meyt's bill

"has of course focused the Government's attention on the issue. I'm not the Minister of Justice so I wouldn't be prepared to say what we're doing, but I can confirm as a Cabinet minister that we are thinking about the issue seriously."

Of course, "thinking seriously" does not necessarily equate to action, but at the very least it shows that the progressives within Labour haven't given up without a fight.

The article also dispels a number of myths around gay adoption. There are already plenty of gay parents (by one means or another), and they seem to do no worse at raising their kids than straights. The law doesn't forbid gay adoption; single people of any sexuality face no legal barriers at all. The problem is solely around joint adoption being restricted to married couples, and it really is because the bill was written in the 50's, back when those were the only couples there were (or at least, the only couples our repressed society would deign to see). Given that we're now living in a far more diverse and open society, in which more and more people pursue their relationships without bothering to formalise them, this needs to be changed, if only to keep up with the times and recognise the facts on the ground. Finally, it points out the obvious: that the kids of gay parents do not necessarily grow up gay (though I'm not sure why it would matter if they did). I would expect then to be less likely to grow up bigots, and more likely to see gay families as completely ordinary and normal - and I suspect that that is precisely what the fundamentalists are afraid of.