Adoption Laws Should Be Maintained – For Sake of Children

Media Release – 9 March 2016
Family First NZ is rejecting calls for adoption laws to be overhauled, labeling the calls flawed and unnecessary, and says that the current Act is focused on appropriate protections and the long-term welfare and rights of children.

“There is no need to overhaul the current law because the Adoption Act isn’t broken. What the proposals are really about is removing appropriate protections and focusing on the rights of adults rather than the rights of children. There is no shortage of suitable married couples wanting to adopt. There may be room for tweaking the Act around the issue of open versus closed adoptions and better recognition of whangai adoptions, but proposals to substantially overhaul the Act are not in the best interests of children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Single parent and same sex couple adoption where there is no biological connection and surrogacy potentially harms children because it intentionally creates motherless and fatherless families – all at the same time as we express concern at the high rates of absent fathers and solo parent households.”

“Age limitations and restrictions on gender are safeguards put in the original Act for good reason and should not be removed. There is ‘discrimination’ for good reason.”

“While a compassionate and caring society should come to the aid of children who have lost their father and/or mother, it is dangerous ground to intentionally give children no father or no mother. Who wants to tell a 15-year-old boy that we didn’t think he needed a dad, or a 14-year-old girl that we don’t think she needs a mum?” says Mr McCoskrie.

“A child has a right to a mother and a father. Death, divorce and disaster may not always deliver that, but we should not set out in public policy to deny a child that basic right. The two most loving and capable women in the world simply cannot provide a daddy – and two men cannot provide a mum,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“This is not a sexuality issue. This is a gender issue. The gender of the parents does matter to a child.”

An independent poll of 1,000 New Zealanders in 2013 by Curia Market Research found majority support for families with both a mum and a dad having priority for adoptions. Respondents were asked “Should families where there is both a mum and a dad have priority for the adoption of babies and children?” 52% of respondents say that families with both a mum and a dad should have priority for adoptions – 38% disagreed.


Human Rights Tribunal calls for change to outdated adoption laws
Stuff 9 Mar 2016
New Zealand’s 61-year-old adoption laws are discriminatory and outdated, according to a new ruling. A Human Rights Review Tribunal decision, which comes after two years of legal battles, has found the Adoption Act 1955 and the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985 contradicts the Human Rights Act and the Bill of Rights Act by discriminating against people based on sex, age, marital status and disability. The current law stops civil union partners or same-sex de facto couples from adopting. It also places restrictions on single men trying to adopt a female child and stops anyone under the age of 25 from adopting. Adoption Action, an adoption law reform lobby group, says the landmark ruling is a step towards changing New Zealand’s “archaic” adoption legislation. Adoption Action committee member and retired lawyer Robert Ludbrook said the group was delighted with the decision, which would hopefully translate into a law change, giving de facto and same sex couples the same rights as married couples.

Adoption discrimination:

The Human Rights Review Tribunal ruled that the following provisions were inconsistent with the Bill of Rights:

  • The requirement for sole male applicants to prove “special circumstances” before being permitted to adopt a female child (when there was no such requirement for a single female to prove “special circumstances”).
  • The ability for the Court to dispense with the consent of birth fathers in some circumstances before a child was adopted (but not birth mothers).
  • The inability of civil union partners or same sex de facto couples to adopt.
  • The absence of a requirement for unmarried opposite sex or same sex partners of a sole applicant for an adoption order to give consent (even when the couple is living together at the time of the application).
  • The ability to dispense with consent of a disabled parent or guardian before his or her child is adopted.
  • The prohibition on persons under the age of 25 adopting a child.
  • In relation to the Adult Adoption Information Act the prohibition on a person under the age of 20 obtaining a copy of his or her original birth certificate.

Source: Human Rights Commission

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