Gay Adoption Now Possible in Scotland

The Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 came into force on the 28th September.  This Act allows gay and lesbian couples to adopt and brings Scottish law into line with that of England and Wales. The Act was passed after some controversy and opposition from certain groups including the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church although it was supported by a number of adoption bodies who believe it will increase the number of potential parents capable of adopting.  Under this legislation couples living in “an enduring family relationship” whether heterosexual or homosexual will be entitled to apply to adopt.  The capability of applying for adoption will not require parties in a gay or lesbian relationship to be civil partners.   Church groups have described gay relationships as “profoundly unstable” but the act seeks to address that by comparing the relationship between the parties to be “as if” they were married or civil partners. Whether the controversy surrounding the passage of the act spills over into subsequent practical cases remains to be seen.   The Act does however represent a significant overhaul of Adoption law with most of the 1978 Adoption act repealed.  A completely new “Permanence Order” is introduced for children who cannot live with their families.  Under such an order the Local authority may be granted parental rights and responsibilities over residence and guidance with other parties including the child’s parents being granted other responsibilities.  The authorities believe this will provide a more flexible framework for some children. Martin Monaghan, accredited family law expert at Caesar and Howie believes the act significantly modernizes adoption law “There are improvements here, notably the provision of better adoption support and I can see the relevance of Permanence Orders. As to the politics of this Act – it is not for me to comment.  Come back in a couple of years and I’ll let you know if same sex adoption has become commonplace”