Same-Sex Couples in Australia, Denmark See Gains, Limits In Adoption Rights

This week saw incremental wins for same-sex couples hoping to adopt in Australia and Denmark — but will the progress be two steps forward, one step back?

BY Mitch Kellaway

July 23 2014 3:57 PM ET

Shaun (center, with dark hair) and Blue Douglas-Geller with their sons Joshi and Dylan

When Shaun and Blue Douglas-Geller moved from the United Kingdom to South Australia with their two adopted children, they were saddened to find that the government barred other same-sex couples from feeling their same joy in adoptive parenthood.

Moreover, they learned, it had been over two years since the government had first declared it would review its adoption laws — an intention that had originally brought hope to thousands of same-sex couples.

"We worry, often, about the future, and how it is that we will come to explain to our children that the State, the community they live in and contribute to, defines their family as lesser, unrecognized, dismissed in the eyes of the law," the couple explained on their Change.org petition asking the government to extend adoption rights to same-sex couples.

In the wake of starting an online petition to bring awareness to the disparity, Gay Star News reports that the Douglas-Gellers finally received good news this week: the South Australian government will begin looking into whether same-sex couples can adopt.

In another recent coup, Rasmus Holm and Thomas Møller Lassen became the first Danish gay couple to adopt a child from outside Denmark, reports the Copenhagen Post. Although Denmark has allowed same-sex couples to adopt children since 2010, skepticism from the home countries of potential adoptees has kept same-sex couples from adopting abroad, according to the Post.

Though a definite step forward, Holm and Lassen said that they were only allowed to adopt from their chosen country — South Africa — with certain stipulations: gay couples are limited to children with special needs and those with serious medical conditions, including HIV.

"It feels morally wrong and morbid that one is forced to sit and pick the disease of their future child," Lassen told Politiken. Nonetheless, he and his partner were overjoyed to return to their Aarhus home with their nine-month-old daughter.

Tags: Families

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