Calls for ban on adoption for homosexuals

THE Mother and Child Campaign has demanded the Government immediately amend adoption legislation to ban homosexuals from adopting children.

But such a move would be a retrograde step, according to gay rights activists.

A spokeswoman for the campaign, Niamh Uí Bhriain, said evidence from other jurisdictions showed homosexual parenting was not in the interest of the child.

"Most Irish parents would be horrified to learn that their children could be given for adoption by homosexuals at the behest of a social worker and the Adoption Board," she said.

"The Adoption Act should be amended immediately to reflect the views of the majority of parents in this country, since no public support exists for homosexual parenting."

However, a spokesman for the Cork Gay Community Development Company said the real issue was one of equality. "Gay men and lesbians have been able to adopt under the Adoption Act," said Dave Roche.

"This is not a gay issue and it would be a completely retrograde step to specifically bar gays from adopting. It would be impossible, anyway, given our equality legislation."

Mr Roche said the campaign's stance was not alone homophobic but derogatory to men in general.

"This is buying into the notion that women are automatically the best carers. Men are capable of caring for children too. It is also disturbing for young gay men and women to have to listen to that kind of talk."

According to Alternative Parents Ireland, children of gay parents grow up in "versatile and varied families" with many female and male influences among the extended family.

"In Ireland, the law is now forced to come to terms with the existence of the alternative family bringing itself into line with other EU states, as the typical nuclear family is all but extinct," said API.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said yesterday that there were no plans to amend adoption legislation either specifically in favour or against gay people.

"Only married couples can apply as a couple. Single applicants can also apply and they would be assessed taking all the circumstances into account, like cohabiting. The Adoption Authority does not address the issue of sexual orientation.

"The key question to be addressed is what is in the child's best interests."

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