Belgian parliament set to support gay adoption law
8 June 2005
BRUSSELS – A proposal to allow gay couples to adopt children looks set to win the green light in the Belgian parliament.
On Wednesday, ‘Le Soir’ reported that a large majority is expected to vote for the law drafted by Flemish social democrat Guy Swennen (SPA).
On Tuesday, the Flemish Christian Democrat party, the CD&V, surprised some commentators by announcing its members would all vote in favour.
It was already clear that the social democratic SPA, the francophone socialist PS, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s Liberal VLD and the green Ecolo would support the proposal.
The francophone centre-right MR party, however, is split over the issue. MP Philippe Monfils criticised fellow party member Charles Michel who pleaded “caution” over the issue. Monfils branded the stance “extraordinary”, insisting the most important consideration in adoption is that the adopting couples make good parents.
“Good parenting is not the preserve of heterosexual couples,” he stated.
MR member Alain Courtois said he thought he was in favour of gay adoption, but added: “I can’t accept the text [of this law] because I feel manipulated by those who want to move too quickly on this issue.”
Courtois argued for more expert opinions to be heard by the justice committee from youth magistrates and social workers.
However, other MPs pointed out that the family sub-committee had already heard such evidence.
The francophone Christian social party, the CDH, and the extremist Vlaams Belang are both against the law.
Monfils also suggested that the general public was perhaps not mature enough to accept the proposed change.
However, he argued that there was no question of the law being rushed through.
After the first vote, it would also be debated by Belgium’s upper house, the senate, he said.
“We’ll have until the end of the year to follow the debate and explain the text,” he said.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news