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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Head-to-head: Gay adoption
The House of Lords is to vote on whether gay and unmarried couples should be allowed to adopt.

The Adoption and Children Bill has already been passed by the House of Commons but it looks likely it will be defeated by the upper house.

Although single people are already allowed to adopt, regardless of sexuality, at present there is a barrier to same sex and unmarried couples applying to adopt.

BBC News Online present the views of two people on opposite sides of the debate.

Lord Clement Jones, Liberal Democrat peer

I do not think we are arguing necessarily about the status of marriage. People will make their own decisions about whether they wish get married.

The issue is about the welfare of children and there are some 5,000 children awaiting parents and adoption.

What we need to do urgently is widen the pool of prospective adoption couples and all the evidence is that unmarried couples are in fact more likely to want to adopt than married couples and that is extremely important.

I would regard gay couples as a family.

Everyone has to be properly assessed. There are very strong eligibility requirements.

The act itself talks about stability and permanence and about the need for a couple to demonstrate they have an enduring relationship whether they are a same sex couple or not. Those tests are in place.

The arguments being used by those who wish to change the bill in its current form as some kind of statistical precautionary principle which tars everyone, whether they are married, unmarried or same sex couples, with the same brush.

The issue is whether an individual couple is eligible and there are very strong tests which will be in regulations and in the bill to make sure those children have loving families and long term relationships, which is what those children need.

Lady O'Cahoyne, Conservative peer

The problem with the amendment is it actually equates marriage with homosexual relationships of both genders and co-habiting couples and it does actually demote the presence of the family in our society.

Also the whole object of the bill is to get more children out of homes into adoption, but the very process started by the prime minister has actually freed up the problem and there now more and more children being adopted.

Adoption by a single person is not the rule, it is more couples that adopt children and I actually believe that children fundamentally need a mother and a father and they need to be part of what one would call a normal family situation.

All the research shows that (non-married couples) do not provide stability. Also co-habiting couples, why do they not want to get married? They do not want to make the commitment to each other so why would they make a commitment to adopt a child?

Surely, if they want to adopt a child they should get married first, and indeed 65% of co-habiting couples do get married.

Adoption laws
Should gay couples be able to adopt?
Should gay couples be able to adopt?



1474 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

16 Oct 02 | Politics
20 May 02 | Politics
07 May 02 | Politics
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