Expatica news

Gay couples win adoption rights

21 April 2006

BRUSSELS — The Senate gave definitive approval by the smallest of majorities on Thursday night to a legislative proposal granting gay couples the right to adopt children.

Adoption was only possible up until now for heterosexual couples or by singles.

“Today is a memorable day for all children of gays and lesbians. Finally, they will gain the right to a complete legal link to both of their parents,” gay lobby group Holebifederatie said.

The League of Human Rights said approval of the legislation was the confirmation of reality, pointing out that a lot of gay or lesbian couples already live with children as a family unit.

Prior to the Senate vote, an amendment proposed by the Liberal MR party threatened to erode the adoption legislation.

The Wallonian party had proposed only allowing adoption if the candidate adopter was already a legal parent.

Flemish Liberal VLD senators Patrik Vankrunkelsven and Annemie Vandecasteele had initially said they would back the MR proposal, but Vandecasteele eventually backed down and abstained.

The original proposal — previously approved by the Lower House of Parliament — was eventually passed in the Senate by 34 votes to 33. There were two abstentions.

Socialist SP.A MP and author of the original proposal Guy Swennen welcomed the vote, having feared that it would not pass the Senate.

Adoption rights for gay couples could possibly be one of the last significant achievements of the current VLD, MR, SP.A and Socialist PS coalition government, with elections due next year.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news