Monday, May 28, 2012

Progress on same-sex adoption

Nikki Kaye and Kevin Hague have finally gone public on their member's bill to legalise gay adoption. It's a good move - and a necessary one. Our adoption laws were written in 1955, and are geared mainly towards stranger adoption. Stranger-adoptions are now a tiny minority, and most adoptions are about getting the paperwork for blended families. What this archaic law means is gay couples not being legal parents of their own kids. And now, thanks to the High Court, we're in the absurd situation where that discriminatory restriction probably doesn't apply to same-sex de facto couples, but does to those who are civil unioned. The law desperately needs to be changed to update it for the modern world.

Ideally, the government would rise to the challenge, and do a thorough review of adoption law (that will also fix all the other problems with the Act). But National isn't interested in progressive social legislation, so its left to Kaye and Hague to do it via a member's bill - which will increase the chance of technical mistakes being made. Its not idea, but when the government abdicates its responsibility, its what we're left with.

It will apparently be a few months before the bill is ready for the ballot. If drawn, I think it will pass - the flaws in the Act are obvious, and I don't think the bigotry of a few is going to stop Parliament from fixing them. And hopefully, it'll convince them that these issues are not toxic, and that they can move ahead on removing marriage discrimination from the books as well.