AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

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AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

IV. Putting equality into practiceespecially for lesbian couples, than for heterosexual couples. These arethe two main exceptions in the law itself. (K. W.)In most places where joint adoption by same-sex couples is a legaloption, it is interpreted within a general discoursive framework pointingto the necessity to extend the pool of potential adoptive parents.Therefore it is usually presented in the political agenda as a childrenrights issue having the “side effect” of advancing same-sex couples’rights. This is what happened in the U.K.:There is one thing I can say: the U.K. has not been a leader on lesbian andgay rights. […] There seems to be a split between continental Europe andthe U.K., Canada, the U.S., Australia, I suppose, Anglo-Saxon, Englishspeaking countries and continental Europe with regard to the desirabilityof adoption. Somehow there is a sense in continental Europe that it isundesirable, that to cut off a child from its heritage is a last resort. Maybeyou do it with an abandoned baby, because they get a completely freshstart, but if the child is two, three, four or more years old, they already haveties with their birth parents. My understanding is that the general approachis that they go into state care, they go into temporary foster families, butpermanent adoption is just not considered an option, whereas the completeopposite approach is taken in these English speaking countries. […] Iwould say there is a much more pragmatic approach to adoption in theEnglish speaking countries. There the view is that it is better for the childto be in a permanent family where there will be a better situation. So thatis what happened in the U.K. […] There are some fifty thousand childrenin state care in the U.K. I am not sure how this figure breaks down: some ofthem might only be in temporary care and eventually go back to their birthparents, but anyway there were many who were just waiting for adoptiveparents. [The] idea was to try and speed up the process, and expand thepool of potential adoptive parents – that was the number oneconsideration. […] The new law comes into effect in September 2005probably. Under the old law only a married couple could adopt a childjointly. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 says that a child can beadopted jointly by a married couple or an unmarried couple. An unmarriedcouple is defined as including different sex or same-sex couples. This iswritten right into the legislation. It is an amazing reform coming from theU.K., but politically the way it was presented was that this was all aboutthe best interests of children, the rights of children. […] That is how it waspresented politically and that is how it made it hard for the conservatives tooppose it. Eventually they gave in and let it go through. Personally I don’tlike that approach, because there are two issues in this situation: one is thebest interests of children and the other is ending discrimination againstsame-sex couples. You can pursue both objectives and they are notinconsistent. In fact, in 2002, the Constitutional Court of South Africa81

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