Should same-sex couples be allowed to adopt? It’s a question asked at this weekend’s LGBT conference, Queering Paradigms.
The law here says married couples and single people are both eligible to adopt, but since same-sex marriage is illegal and unrecognised, a same-sex couple wouldn’t be allowed to adopt. However, there is a way around it.
“It’s not possible for couples of the same sex to adopt at the moment,” said David P Matheson, describing Cayman’s adoption laws as they pertain to LGBT people.
He told Cayman 27 his research, presented at the Queering Paradigms conference Saturday (11 June), makes the case that the sexual orientation of adoptive parents is irrelevant.
“A child growing up in an institution versus a child growing up in a same sex or a heterosexual family, there’s no comparison,” said Mr. Matheson. “To be loved and be wanted by one person or two people, far outweighs the need to be brought up in an institution.”
Mr. Matheson said if two gay men want to adopt a child together, they are out of luck under current law. But he says nothing is stopping a person in a same-sex relationship from adopting a child as an individual.
“What happens is, one person would be identified the adoptive parent, and then on the form, there is a space for significant other,” he said.
Same-sex adoption is legal in 25 countries, including the UK, which changed its laws to allow it back in 2005. Just this April, the state of Mississippi’s same-sex adoption ban was struck down by a federal judge, making it legal in all fifty US states.
Mr. Matheson said the issue isn’t about sexual orientation, it’s about the children.
“The emphasis is not about same sex adoption or same sex marriage, it’s about finding a suitable home for the child, versus a child staying in an institution,” said Mr. Matheson.
He said the ability to be a good parent should be the sole criteria for adoption.
The Department of Children and Family Services told Cayman 27 married couples and those who wish to adopt as individuals are subject to the same scrutiny. After an assessment deems a person or couple suitable to adopt, the court makes the final decision in any case.
Right now, there are around 75 active applications in various stages of the adoption process.