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UK: Gay Couples Adopt Children Just Like All the Others
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of November 23, 2017) The number of adoption cases for gay and lesbian couples increased from 510 in 2013/2014 to 586 in 2016/2017, representing about one seventh of all adoptions. In the same period, the number of adoptions by heterosexual couples decreased by 27.5%. Nevertheless, the situation for same-sex couples is not ideal yet.
LGBT couples were legally allowed to adopt children in 2002 but the number really started climbing after same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013.
2013 marked a turning point with respect to adoption in the UK because the Supreme Court then defined adoption as “a last resort” – which means when there is no other solution available. Since then, adoption application by straight couples dropped from 4,914 to 3,561 currently.
Part of the reason for this is that during the same period, interest in other options such as artificial insemination or surrogate motherhood has grown.
Even though the situation for same-sex couples has become much better since 2002 (or even 2013), gay and lesbian couples willing to adopt still face hidden forms of discrimination at times.
Apparently, handling times for adoption applications are significantly longer for homosexual couples, and the social workers seem to have a tendency to entrust gay and lesbian couples with more difficult, older or more handicapped children – which is something that these couple seem to be willing to do.
The fact that the number of gay adoptions has been increasing and the number of straight adoptions has been decreasing shows the social benefits of same-sex couples willing to adopt children. Clearly, the meaning of family is not just procreation but child adoption as well.
In the UK, about 3000 children are waiting for adoptive parents, yet many gay and lesbian couples do not know that they have the same rights to adopt children as any other couple does.