(Blogmensgo, gay blog of February 16, 2017) On February 9, 2017, the Belgian representatives unanimously accepted a bill intended to simplify the provisions and procedures for adoption by same-sex couples. The text introduced by Green Party members Stefaan Van Hecke and Muriel Gerkens privileges the child interest over the interest of the parents or ex-partners. This means that a judge will be able to allow a simple adoption by the same-sex partner of one parent even if the other biological parent is opposed.
Currently, a biological parent can prevent such an adoption. There are four main reasons why the representatives voted for the new law:
- Giving priority to the superior interest of the child.
- Legally aligning the provisions for gay and straight couples.
- Granting a real parent status for the new partner of one parent.
- Legally codifying the development of society: Both homosexuality and parenthood or adoption by same-sex parents are seen much more favorably today.
The bill is trying to regulate two more cases of simple adoption: After a separation, an ex-partner who was involved in the upbringing of a child without legal parenthood may now receive joint custody. (Biological parents always retain custody anyway.) Furthermore, the child can take on or keep the name of the parent who is no longer available for the child’s upbringing.
The first reading of the bill in the parliament had already happened on June 9, 2016. On February 9, 2017, all parties in the parliament voted for this text except for the three members of the right-wing party Vlaams Belang who abstained from voting. The new law will come into effect after formal ratification by the king, which is a pure formality.
As a reminder, Belgium had introduced same-sex partnerships (“Pacs”) in 1998, same-sex marriage in 2003 and adoption by same-sex couples in 2006. Many of these improvements were pushed by Elio Di Rupo, who first served as a minister and later even as prime minister of Belgium (2011 to 2014). Shortly after Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir in Iceland, he was the second openly homosexual head of government in Europe.
Frank-S / MensGo
Initial source: Parismatch.be, February 10, 2017.