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‘Same-sex marriage’ bill and its negative impact on Adoption

Media Release 26 March 2013

‘Same-sex marriage’ bill and its negative impact on Adoption laws

The Society (SPCS) has sent a petition to the A-G, the Hon. Chris Finlayson, calling on him to fulfil his legal duty under s. 7 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 (BORA) to inform parliament that the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Bill is in breach of BORA with respect to not only its “Consequential Amendments” relating to the Adoption Act 1955, and its removal of the terms “husband” and “wife” from at least 14 Acts of parliament – both replaced by a new definition of “spouse” (to include SSM couples); - but also in its amendment of the Marriage Act 1955 to allow same-sex couples to be granted marriage certificates.

SPCS contends that same-sex marriage (SSM) is an oxymoron and that the A-G must inform parliament that it is not authorised to enact meaningless legislation. The bill, if passed, would authorise the state for the first time to grant special “rights” to same-sex couples once they are labelled “spouses” under SSM, to both legally a adopt a child and become its adoptive parents; whether that child is unrelated biologically to both adults, or biologically related to just one of them. By law both homosexual’s names would have to be recorded on the Adoption Order. Of course heterosexual married couples under current law can adopt in parallel situations and this serves the public good and the child's best interests - to have both a mother and father.

For the state to grant to two homosexuals in a SSM the right to adopt a boy or girl, and for both to be designated in law as his/her “parents” (to the exclusion of his/her birth mother), is not in the best interests of the child and is in breach of BOR. It denies the inherent right of the child to have (ideally) both a mother and a father.

A birth mother ‘Louisa’, for example, in such cases could be acting as a commercial surrogate for two married homosexual men, Chis and Peter, neither of whom provide sperm material, and she may well be in a formal lesbian relationship (civil union or marriage) or an informal one (de facto). Sperm could be provided by another homosexual man Tim, known to Chris and Peter and Louisa from among the wider so-called "Rainbow Community".

For the purpose of the Birth Certificate Louisa’s name is required by law to be entered as the child’s mother and any female partner she has must be entered as the other “parent” too. At the point an Adoption Oder is granted to Chris and Peter, both these homosexual men would become the “adoptive parents”. Now the child has two ‘daddys” and two ‘mummys”, or looked at another way, a ‘male mummy’ and a ‘male daddy’ AND another ‘female daddy’ and a ‘female mummy’. This what the child will eventually have to come to terms with and communicate to her teachers, friends and peers.

Such arrangements in law make a mockery of, and degrade the true concept of "mother" and "father", are common-place in the homosexual community world-wide, where lesbians often refers publicly to their female marriage partner as their husband (and vice versa) and homosexual men refer to their married partners as their wife (and vice versa).

The universally understood concept of fatherhood and motherhood embodied in article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and article 23(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPR), both of which NZ is a signatory to, involves a child’s parents being a mother (male) and a father (male). Of course an adoptive mother and/or father is consistent with these conventions (whether biologically related or not); but not the concept of two same-sex 'married' persons both being parents of a child and living as “spouses” with the child.

The proposed amendments to the Marriage Act 1955 in Louisa Wall’s legally flawed bill, discriminate against heterosexual married persons on the basis of their marriage status, and/or on persons based on their religious belief e.g. that marriage is ordained by God as limited to a man and woman (see petition to A-G).

The Quilter v. Attorney-General ruling [1998] by the Court of Appeal, determined unequivocally that same-sex couples are not discriminated against in terms of marriage under the Marriage Act 1955.

Auckland Family Lawyer Norman Elliott has expressed serious misgivings (NZ Herald 11/03/13) over the bill with respect to its impact on the Adoption Act 1955, stating:

“As well as allowing adoption by married couples the present act allows an individual person to adopt a child, although there are restrictions on a male adopting a female child. There are children living in families where the parent figures are same-sex couples, one of whom is the legal adoptive parent.

“Because this situation is allowed under the law it might be suggested it is only a small step to allow both adults to become adoptive parents. A mother or a father bringing up a child on their own is common in our society. That is very different however from a child having two legal fathers or two legal mothers, the consequence of same-sex adoption…. It would be irresponsible of Parliament and an injustice to children to approve a change to long-established adoption law on the coat tails of a change to marriage law. Such a change should only come about after due parliamentary process and full public debate.”

Parliament must be informed by the A-G that the proposed bill championed by Louisa Wall breaches BORA in a number of areas and cannot proceed due to aspects of its meaningless content. Adopted children ideally deserve as of right - both a committed loving mother and a committed loving father.

ENDS


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