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Saturday 10 October 2009

Adoption Reform: We Need Readiness

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 1st September 2009

Let's assume that Kevin Hague's adoption reform bill is pulled from the ballot box within the next few weeks. Then what?

One, we need to form a dedicated lobby group focused on this specific issue, as happened with homosexual law reform, the Human Rights Act and its anti-discrimination provisions and civil unions. Interested parties need to organise around this issue well beforehand.

Two, we need to form strategic alliances with organisations that have supported such moves overseas. This means child health and welfare organisations. And if the Maori Party wants legality of whangai adoption in return for its support, then I think we should be accomodating.

Three, we need to use available resources. There are ample resources about same-sex parenting and adoption law reform in's archives. Access them and take especial note of those that refer to evidence from pediatrics and developmental psychology. We need to be thoroughly cognisant of such research.

Four, as the Section 59 debate showed, the Christian Right are back to their old tricks, seeking funding, tactical and strategic advice from overseas Christian Right organisations, mostly within Great Britain and the United States. Highlight these unhealthy relationships in public debate. We need to enlist the assistance of prominent US academic supporters of LGBT parental equality and responsibility, like Judith Stacey, well beforehand.

Five, we need perseverance. We need to realise that this time, we have a reluctant government. However, we need to be assertive and make it clear that this is a modest, incremental and limited reform... unlike the interminable ones about the physical punishment of children.

All we want is an end to interference in our parental bonds, so that in the best interests of the children involved and the continuity of care therein, we can give them family stability, avoid potential custody headaches and complete our existing complement of parental responsibilities, achieved through fostering, guardianship and access to reproductive technologies. We need to assert that same-sex parenting exists and that same-sex parents are loving and responsible ones, who care deeply for our families.

This isn't so much about equal parental 'rights' as equal parental responsibilities.

Craig Young - 1st September 2009

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