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New Adoption Law Gives Gay Couples Joint Rights






LONDON, December 30, 2005   –  Same-sex couples, whether in a ‘civil partnership’ or not, can from today jointly adopt children – as can unmarried opposite-sex couples.  Previously, adoption law in England and Wales allowed individuals – both straight and gay – to adopt, but this gave their partners few parental rights.

There has never been a law prohibiting gay men and women from adopting.

The new Adoption and Children Act 2002 came into force today and adoption support groups say that the new law will encourage more people to come forward and adopt children.

Any unmarried couple, including a same-sex couple, wishing to adopt will need to be able to demonstrate that their partnership is an ‘enduring family relationship’.

Among other provision of the new Act is that natural parents who gave up their children for adoption now have the right to try to trace them through an intermediary service, providing the child agrees.

In addition, the Act allows foster parents to apply for ‘special guardianship’ orders that, if granted, will enable them to take continuous responsibility for children until their eighteenth birthday.

“These changes will have a major impact on thousands of families,” said Felicity Collier, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.

“We know there are people eagerly awaiting [today] because they are an unmarried couple who would like to adopt jointly, because they are fostering a child and want to make sure the child can stay with them for the rest of their childhood or because they would desperately like know more about a child they gave up for adoption many years ago.

“We welcome the fact that no identifying information about adopted adults will be given without their consent but we believe there are many adopted adults who have not made the first approach in case it is not welcomed by their birth parent but who would want to respond if they knew their birth parent was concerned to know how they were.

“Opening up adoption to unmarried partners will encourage more people to consider adoption and this is very important at a time when too many children wait too long in temporary care waiting for an adoptive family or, in some cases, never have the chance of adoption at all.

“Foster carers often want to make a permanent commitment to a child whom they love and are caring for but for one reason or another it is not right to legally sever the child from their birth parents through adoption.  Special guardianship will give the child much greater security about the future and we welcome this major new order,” she said.

■  The Scottish Executive is currently reviewing adoption policy in Scotland.


Stonewall resource page on same-sex adoption.



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December 29:
Lithuania Follows Latvia’s Homophobic Outbursts Amid Calls for Constitutional Change.  By Eduardas Platovas.  Lithuanian MP and former social minister Irena Degutiene, a member of the Homeland Union (Conservatives) will reportedly begin collecting signatures in January as part of a drive to amend the constitution so gay marriages will be banned.

UK:  Civil Partnership – A Reason for Us All to Celebrate.  By the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP, The Prime Minister.  This article was first published in The Independent on December 21, the first day of Civil Partnership registration in England and Wales.  It appears here with the permission of 10 Downing Street.

December 29:
  Two Metis Arrested in Kathmandu for Staying in Hotel.  In the early hours of this morning, a “meti” (transgendered male) was arrested by police as she was leaving the Thamel tourist area on a motorcycle with her male friend.

December 27:
Young Iranian Woman Gets Death Sentence Unconfirmed reports from Iran are today suggesting that a young woman has been sentenced to death by hanging.  According to (Persian only),  her name is Delaraam and she was 17 when she allegedly committed the crime.   It is not clear if the execution has taken place.

Asia:  2005 Utopia Awards for Gay and Lesbian Pioneers in Asia Announced Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Dr Peter Jackson have been named joint s winners of the Utopia Award, Asia’s leading gay human rights award which recognises individuals and organisations that have contributed to improving the quality of life for the gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities across the continent.

December 25:
Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: It’s Time for the Religious Right to Get Some Holiday Cheer
Op-Ed by Imam Daayiee Abdulla.  Once again this year, the religious right has taken offense at the so-called ‘war on Christmas.’  The American Family Association and other radical religious groups have called for a boycott of Target because of the corporation's policy of saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

December 23:
Mother of Slain Army Private Calls on Pentagon to Immediately Implement Anti-Gay Harassment Plan.  Patricia Kutteles, mother of slain Army Private First Class Barry Winchell, issued a statement today in response to reports that Private Kyle Lawson, 19, was attacked by a fellow service member at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, after fellow soldiers learned Lawson is gay.

Posted: 30 December 2005 at 15:00 (UK time)