A Swedish gay rights group said Friday that it plans to start an adoption agency for gay people because existing agencies in Sweden won't consider Swedish gay couples for international adoptions.
The parliament in the Scandinavian nation of 8.9 million voted last summer to allow gay adoptions starting February 1, but adoption agencies have said they won't consider gay couples for international adoptions because they fear it would disrupt their relations with organizations in the countries of origin.
"We will work for the establishment of an adoption bureau for homosexuals," said Soeren Andersson, chairman of gay rights group RFSL. He said adoption organizations exaggerate other countries' objections to gay adoptions.
Inga Naeslund, a spokeswoman for Sweden's largest adoption agency, Adoptionscentrum, said a gay adoption agency should focus on children from countries in which gay adoptions are legal, like the United States and South Africa. "In some countries it can be a sensitive issue," Naeslund said. "I think they should be careful in the way they approach foreign countries."
Iceland and the Netherlands also allow gay couples to adopt children. The United Kingdom recently lifted a ban on adoptions by gay couples, but all of the law's provisions are not expected to take effect until 2004. Denmark allows gays to adopt the children of their partners.
Naeslund said Swedish parents adopt about 1,000 children every year, mostly from South Korea, Colombia, China, and Russia. None of those countries allows gay adoptions, she said.