Expatica news

Tight vote looms over gay adoption rights

5 July 2005

BRUSSELS — The number of MPs prepared to back legislation granting gay couples adoption rights is dwindling, placing the legislation in threat of being rejected.

The Francophone Reform Movement party (MR) withdrew its support for the proposal on Monday, prompting Socialist (SP.A) MP Guy Swennen to admit his concern.

Nevertheless, the legislative proposal lodged by Swennen aimed at granting gays the right to adopt children might just gain a majority. On the other hand, it might also just miss out.

The pro and anti-camps started adding up votes on Monday to see which held the majority, but no definite result was identified.

The mathematical work was prompted after MR leader Didier Reynders told French-language newspaper ‘La Libre’ that his party will not support gay adoption rights.

Several weeks ago, Reynders had asked and received extra hearings in the Federal Parliament’s justice commission in order to decide the party’s stance.

After those hearings, the Christian Democrat party CD&V revised its pro-gay adoption stance. The Flemish party suddenly saw greater value in affording gays co-parenting rights, similar to what unmarried heterosexual parents enjoy.

The policy that Reynders unveiled to La Libre leads off in the same direction, Dutch-language newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Tuesday.

Reynders said gay and lesbian parents in existing family relationships have parental rights and obligations.

He was referring to the partners of lesbian mothers who give birth via insemination, the partners of people who adopted a child while single and the partners of people who have a child from a former heterosexual relationship
The federal finance minister thinks co-parenting regulations are sufficient, just as they are for heterosexual families. Drawing up new regulations is not on his agenda.

The Francophone Christian Democrat party (CDH) was pleased with Reynder’s stance. Flemish CD&V MP Servais Verherstraeten is now examining whether the opponents to the gay adoption legislation can gather their strength and lodge a joint amendment to the proposal.

The parliament’s justice commission will then need to examine the original proposal from MP Swennen granting adoption rights to gay couples.

Such a proposal can count on the support of the Socialist parties PS, SP.A/Spirit, Liberal party VLD, Francophone green Ecolo and MR MP Philippe Monfils.

That would guarantee majority support in the justice commission, but the vote in parliament is less certain.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news