Sunday, 5 September 2010

Paediatrician/MP: why same sex adoption should occur

NSW Labor MP and paediatrician Dr Andrew McDonald has highlighted the scientific evidence for same sex adoptions, while at the same time describing Family Court orders as a "second-best option" compared to  adoption orders. His position is different to that of the Queensland Government which justified its discrimination against same sex couples in the Adoption Act 2009 as being in the best interest of children.

Dr McDonald stated:

Parenting orders in the Family Court or Children's Court expire on the child's eighteenth birthday and the child will not be able to inherit anything from the parent after his or her eighteenth birthday. If one parent dies, the child is in a legal vacuum as to guardianship long term. If an 18-year-old child is involved in an accident where there is only a parenting order, the parent will not be able to consent to medical treatment.

Getting a parenting order in the Family Court is expensive and not effective with respect to inheritance and is a second-best option. Parenting orders in the Family Court are never final. Any party may return to the court to seek a variation. This creates a less stable environment for the child.
Dr McDonald stated:

Not one piece of peer review literature says that homosexual parents are inferior to heterosexual parents, and anybody who submits that needs to quote from a piece of peer review literature that says that.
Dr McDonald stated that his duty was clear. He cited the American Academy of Pediatrics statement from 2002 reaffirmed in February this year endorsing same sex adoption:

Children who are born to or adopted by 1 member of a same-sex couple deserve the security of 2 legally recognized parents.
Therefore, the American Academy of Paediatrics supports legislative and legal efforts to provide the possibility of adoption of the child by the second parent or coparent in these families.

Children deserve to know that their relationships with both of their parents are stable and legally recognized.

This applies to all children, whether their parents are of the same sex or opposite sex.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recognizes that a considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.

When 2 adults participate in parenting a child, they and the child deserve the serenity that comes with legal recognition.

Children born or adopted into families headed by partners who are of the same sex usually have only 1 biologic or adoptive legal parent. The other partner in a parental role is called the "coparent" or "second parent". Because these families and children need the permanence and security that are provided by having 2 fully sanctioned and legally defined parents, the Academy supports the legal adoption of children by coparents or second parents.

Denying legal parent status through adoption to coparents or second parents prevents these children from enjoying the psychologic and legal security that comes from having 2 willing, capable and loving parents.
On the basis of the acknowledged desirability that children have and maintain a continuing relationship with 2 loving and supportive parents, the Academy recommends that pediatricians do the following:
  • Be familiar with professional literature regarding gay and lesbian parents and their children.
  • Support the right of every child and family to the financial, psychologic, and legal security that results from having legally recognized parents who are committed to each other and to the welfare of their children.
  • Advocate for initiatives that establish permanency through coparent or second-parent adoption for children of same-sex partners through the judicial system, legislation, and community education.

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